“Shame on you!” Tulsa mother of child with special needs shamed for using handicapped parking spot

TULSA, Okla. – The holidays are often times known for bringing out the best in others, but one Tulsa mother says that is not the case after she found a note on her car.

Colleen Stice says she was shopping with her son at Tulsa Hills on Wednesday afternoon. After they finished shopping, she reached her car and found a note on her windshield.

“We watched you pull into the handicap spot and get out carrying a toddler. You have no right to park in a handicap! It is for handicap people! Shame on you!” the note read.

Stice says that the writer was too quick to judge, and didn’t notice that her son can’t walk.

“Even though he turns four tomorrow, mentally he’s probably one and half to 2 years if we’re lucky,” she said. “He can’t walk, can’t express anything.”

Stice says that her son, Rowan, needs a wheelchair to get around but it was being cleaned on Wednesday. With Christmas quickly approaching, she says she needed to do some last minute shopping and just decided to carry him.

“Got him out of the backseat, carried him in quickly because my arms were killing me,” she told FOX 23.

Stice says the stranger must have overlooked the handicapped placard when they left the note.

She says she doesn’t enjoy using the handicapped parking spaces at stores because she is always worried about being judged.

She posted her thoughts on Facebook, and her post was shared thousands of times.

“You left this note after seeing me pull into the spot, pick my son Rowan up out of the back seat, and carry him quickly towards the front door of Target. Please allow me to tell you what you didn’t see. You didn’t see that Rowan who turns 4 in two days can’t walk more than a few steps at a time. You didn’t see that he doesn’t understand that flailing, kicking, and trying to hurl himself backward makes it incredibly difficult, painful, and exhausting to carry him. You didn’t see that his wheelchair was at home because due to an accident he’d had, the cushion had to be removed and washed at home. You didn’t see that I had already carried him through two stores that didn’t have carts. You didn’t see that the closest spot available that wasn’t handicapped was so far out that I almost talked myself out of getting the last of Rowan’s Christmas presents just so I didn’t have to carry him that far, or use a handicapped spot,” she wrote.

“There really was no way for you to have seen these things, because you couldn’t, because it’s none of your business. It is not your place to judge me or my decisions on where to park. It isn’t your place to shame me the way you did. Don’t let today’s society make you think otherwise. I know shaming has become a huge part of our culture these days, but please, please, don’t do this to another person. You don’t know what they may be going through. I was having an alright day today, but I was doing what I could to ignore the sad feelings that arise around Rowan’s birthday every year. These feelings happen to all special needs parents when they see their children turning another year older, but mentally not aging more than a few months if they’re lucky. What you did made me cry. What you did blew away the wall I had put up to keep those feelings from getting to me. What you did hurt me more than you can possibly understand. And I was having an alright day.

Imagine how bad days can get for special needs parents. The possibilities are endless. You don’t know me, and you don’t know the next person you see parking in a handicapped spot. Don’t shame them. They probably don’t deserve it. Just be kind.”