Dear Mr BMW driver
Firstly, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for the inspiration. It’s been a while (too long, actually) since I wrote anything and whilst I did have another topic in mind – but little time to sit down and actually draft something – I’ll be able to rattle off this letter to you quite easily. Really easily, in fact.
For some unknown reason, BMW drivers – much like people who drive white vans – like to attempt to adhere their vehicle to my rear bumper when I’m out and about with Hannah and, judging by the animated gesticulations and blotchy red faces in my rear view mirror, wish me to either get out of the way or exceed the speed limit, just for them. Humble apologies for anyone’s inconvenience, I am after all but a mere woman, driving her child around. My place is in the kitchen, obviously. However, if we’d met many moons ago, I’d have gladly allowed you to accompany me around the many race circuits I frequented – although I doubt you’d have been able to fit into my fire-proof gear or crash helmet – but I’m sure we’d have probably found something to accommodate the more…erm…how shall I put it?…rotund individual (may I be so bold as to suggest you go easy on the sales rep lunches in future?). Now this may come as a shock, as maybe you wouldn’t think by looking at me, however, I used to be quite partial to a hand-break turn around a hairpin bend and was rather a dab hand at pace notes too.
Maybe I could have taught you a thing or two. I KNOW!!! Who’d have thought, eh?
…and whilst we could no doubt have had a lovely ‘old skool’ chat about the double de clutch technique or the benefits of switching to slicks, I want to talk to you specifically about your parking…
Because, quite frankly Sir, It’s pretty rubbish!
Now I bet you love your car as much as you love your kids. That’s probably why you decided to park it RIGHT ACROSS TWO PARKING BAYS when you went to collect them. Not only that, I bet you love your car SOOOOOOOO very much that, as you didn’t want to risk it getting scratched, you decided to park it not only RIGHT ACROSS TWO PARKING BAYS but…IN THE ONLY TWO DISABLED PARKING BAYS AVAILABLE. Because, after all, you were only parking there “for two minutes” whilst you collected your children (or maybe it was the simple fact that you’re just too lazy to walk across the car park).
Yeah, that’s what they all say, love. Trust me!
Actually, no, I’m wrong. They don’t all say that. They either glare in defiance, get a bit shirty (they’re not doing anything illegal after all and who am I anyway – the Disabled Parking Police?) or avoid all eye contact until they’ve quickly and silently shuffled their kids into the car and drove off, looking a bit sheepish until they get around the corner.
You’ve broke the mould, my dear…although apologising three times was a bit excessive. In fact, I didn’t even expect an apology. The only person you let down was yourself by clearly evidencing to your kids and all and sundry present that you really don’t care about disabled access…even if your intention was to stay for only for 2 minutes.
Now my friend, seemingly, that great big sign RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU that says “PARKING FOR BLUE BADGE HOLDERS ONLY” or those TWO BIG YELLOW DISABLED SYMBOLS PARKED ON THE ROAD like this…
…aren’t big enough for you to see. In that case, I strongly urge you to visit an ophthalmologist at your earliest convenience. Although, quite frankly, if you can’t see either of them, then for yours and your childrens sake at least, maybe you ought not to be behind the wheel of any vehicle!
I never thought I’d need to use a disabled parking space. I once assumed that by now my child would be just like yours – able to walk ‘properly’, able to follow instruction, aware of danger, able to strap themselves into the car. But that isn’t the case. I don’t relish parking in that disabled space…but it’s there for a purpose – to make life just that tiny bit easier and a tiny bit safer. Through your action – by parking across those two disabled bays (I wouldn’t have bothered as much if you’d only parked in one!) just like the bloke with the massive car transporter does (but he’s a member of the glaring gang) – you took that away from two people who had a blue badge.
That’s just a bit sad, don’t you think?
It’s evident that you take great care of your car (although I’m guessing it actually belongs to a company you work for). I bet you’re really proud of it…maybe hoovering it out and t-cutting it on a Sunday afternoon until it gleams (you missed a bit, btw) and if you took as much care of your conscience as you did with your car, then maybe, just maybe, next time you think about parking in a disabled bay (or two!) you might think twice…and maybe park in the other parking bays instead. Perhaps.
Furthermore, you’d be going some way in teaching your own children some values, about what an inclusive society can entail and to acknowledge that these tiny gestures of consideration towards other people much less fortunate than themselves help to make things a bit easier. Plus, you’d be teaching them that walking – even a little – can be a good source of exercise.
I live in hope…although I won’t hold my breath.