A woman’s response to a hateful note left on her car in a disabled parking spot inspires thousands.
Justine Van Den Borne, a woman in Melbourne with multiple sclerosis (MS), was recently targeted by a hateful note left on her car after parking in a handicapped spot. The note read “Did you forget your wheelchair???” which made it clear that the note-writer did not support Van Den Borne.
However, she decided not to take the note lying down and shared a photo of the note and a message on her Facebook page explaining her condition and why she required the use of a handicapped parking spot.
Van Den Borne made it clear that some days are better than others for her and just because she was not bound to a wheelchair does not mean she is not struggling with a disability that inhibits her life. She encouraged people to look beyond the disability and understand that just because they can’t see it, it doesn’t mean that a person isn’t struggling.
She wrote, “I am sick of people like yourself abusing me on my good days for using a facility I am entitled to. A disability doesn’t always mean a person has to be wheelchair bound, but lucky for you, one day I will be.”
Since sharing her experience on Facebook, Van Den Borne has inspired thousands of people. Her post received more than 17,500 likes and thousands of shares. She finished her Facebook message with a note to her friends and followers, reminding them to not ruin another person’s day and to remember that they don’t know everything.
Van Den Borne is forty-one years old and was diagnosed with MS when she was thirty-five. Her condition makes it challenging for her to go about her day and requires her to use a handicapped parking spot to be closer to buildings when she needs to enter and exit. However, she has struggled with people who do not understand her condition and judge her for using the parking spot.
“Before you ruin another person’s day, remember you don’t know everything, and just because you can’t see it, it doesn’t mean a person isn’t struggling to put one foot in front of the other,” she said.
Just because Van Den Borne does not use a wheelchair does not mean she does not struggle with mobility issues on some days more than others.
She added, “Because of my age, they look at me and automatically presume I’m doing the wrong thing. But actually, I can’t carry my own shopping, can’t walk long distances, I have the bladder of an 80-year-old.”
She cannot carry her own shopping, cannot walk long distances, and has the bladder of an 80-year-old. Despite the difficulties, Van Den Borne is not giving up and continues to raise awareness for people with invisible disabilities.