That is, IF we can find a parking place for the van with space to unload the wheelchair.
Believe me, I know where every single handicapped spot is in that mall. There are some in front of Macy's, downstairs in the back behind Macy's, there are a couple by the Williams Sonoma and several over by Nordstrom. In addition there are probably 5 or six in the underground parking. Of those maybe 20 spots, only 5 or so have the designated space to unload a wheelchair. And those 5 spots are almost always taken by a vehicle that could not possibly hold a wheelchair.
There is, of course, no distinction between the wheelchair accessible spaces and the regular "blue" spaces designated for the disabled. Anyone with a placard can use any blue spot, wheelchair accessible or not. That makes sense, there really aren't that many wheelchair vehicles cruising around. And while most wheelchair ramps come out the passenger side, some have the ramp coming out the back of the vehicle. So not even every wheelchair van needs the space on the side.
Still, it's maddening for those of us who actually DO have to unload a wheelchair out the side of the car to see a Honda Civic or some other small car in the wheelchair spot while another blue zone sits empty.
Perfectly legal. Perfectly reasonable. Absolutely maddening.
Saturday as I approached I saw one spot big enough and figured we were in business. There were three other blue spots, none of which would work for me - but I only needed one. There was one car in front of me - a sedan of some sort.
OF COURSE, OF COURSE, he took the one spot I needed. Not only that, I watched as his wife, who did not seem to have any disability at all, jumped out of the car and sprinted to Macy's. He stayed in the car and waited for her. Really? And you have to take up a wheelchair spot to do that? I did not see any placard, and I have no idea if he or she were even entitled to use that spot, but why oh why couldn't they have taken one not meant for a wheelchair.
Now I know you are thinking, why didn't you say something? If he realized he would have happily moved ... and you may be right. But how do I know that? No one likes to be corrected by a stranger. He could be a wacko. I can't play cop or even hall monitor in addition to all my other roles. Further, as a practical matter, I would never get out of the car and leave Maggie sitting there unattended. For one thing, it's dangerous and for another, any cop who happened by would be far more interested in my neglect than in the (possibly) legal if thoughtless parking of the other guy.
So I will use this blog to start an education plan.
If you are not disabled, don't park in disabled spots. Just don't. The ticket is enormous and the karma is even worse.
If you do have a legitimate disabled parking placard, and you are the using it correctly, please don't take the wheelchair space unless there is no other blue zone available.
There are no fines or karma to worry about here, but you would certainly make my life just a little bit easier.
Addendum - I've now heard from at least three wheelchair users who do not use a van, so I feel better about seeing the cars that don't seem to be wheelchair users in those spaces. But let's face it, there are an awful lot of non wheelchair users taking them and an awful lot of non-disabled using all types of handicapped spots. If you are using a placard legally and need the space -go for it, that's why it's there. If you don't need the extra space and there's another space, take it. if you are disabled and staying in the car while your wife shops, don't hog a space. If you are parking in a blue zone illegally, I have nothing but disdain for you.