I was excited by this Manawatu Standard story on Stuff which unfolds with the clarity of a nightmare and reads like a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode:
A wheelchair-bound Palmerston North man on a crusade to stop the abuse of disability car parks was involved in an altercation he claims ended in him being tipped out.
The fracas happened on Saturday evening when Nicolas Steenhout confronted a woman after she pulled into a disability park at Melody’s New World on Broadway Ave.
She did not have an orange mobility card, which permits the use of disability car parks.
The Manawatu Standard understands Mr Steenhout reached into the car and grabbed the steering wheel.
The woman warned him to let go, before reversing slowly out of the park but Mr Steenhout clung to the wheel before being thrown out of his wheelchair.
When I lived in Karori I walked past the car parks at the supermarket every day and I took great delight in confronting people parking in the disabled spot. These exchanges always went something like this:
Me: Excuse me. Did you know this is a disabled spot?
Them: Oh I’m just in a hurry.
Me: They’re not for people in a hurry. They’re for people that are disabled. (Now shouting as the person scurries away through the crowd, their face burning with shame) Just so you know in future you’re not supposed to park there unless you’re disabled.
I stopped doing this after a big scary looking guy threatened to beat me up but they were good times. Contrary to the claim in the article I don’t think I ever saw an elderly person abusing the space – they were almost always well dressed men and woman in their forties and fifties driving late model cars: our vast middle management class, most of whom seem think they’re just a little bit more special than anyone else so none of the rules apply to them.
Anyway, I sometimes fantasize about lifting weights and learning to box so I could harass people in disabled car parks with impunity but being in a wheelchair would be even better.