In a viral Facebook post, a police officer from Mississippi displayed the importance of following traffic rules when it comes to disabled parking spaces.
Imagine this. You've got people coming over for a huge party - but nothing to feed them. So you run to your local grocery store. You're going round and round the parking lot, to no avail. There are no free parking spots, except... The striped area next to the handicapped spot. So you're thinking, "I'll just run in really quick. No one will even notice. I won't be too long." But that's just the thing: people do notice. When you park illegally, you're depriving someone who needs that space for a few minutes of convenience. And that's not okay. This viral post brilliantly displays exactly why.
Officer Zack Goins from Mississippi has written dozens of citations for a staggering amount of people who have violated this law. He's even towed vehicles that have parked in the striped area next to parking spots reserved for folks with disabilities. While we wish police officers were more "sympathetic" to our situations, he explains why they aren't. He took to Facebook to share why. Goins posted a photo of a child in a wheelchair who couldn't access his family car's ramp because someone had parked in the striped area. He wrote, "So, for anyone who asks why you would get a citation for parking in the striped area in a handicap zone, THIS IS WHY!"
And it has definitely struck a chord with numerous users on Facebook. Ever since it was first posted, the photo has garnered over 23,000 reactions. It has also been shared over 290,000 times. In the comments section, users have shared their own experiences with regard to handicapped parking spots. Brandy Pepper commented, "This infuriates me! We have this same problem! Especially when you are by yourself and have to leave your kid sitting there by himself to move the vehicle just to get him in!" Dan King, also an officer, posted, "And people wonder why I write their *ss that long ticket with my personal signature." James Landis Prince simply recommended, "Tow that sh*t."
In an interview, Goins explained some of his frustrations with people's insensitivity when it comes to parking spaces. "The reason there are laws for accessible parking is for this particular reason. The striped area is specifically for those zones," the officer stated. "Motorcycles are the worst." For those who want to help disabled folks, he suggests approaching the parking violator personally. If that's too intimidating, it may be worthwhile to call the local police department so they can send an officer to investigate the situation. He affirmed, "We will certainly take action. Every scenario is different." Regarding the scenario highlighted in the picture, he said he would write a citation as well as tow the car. But for Officer Goins, this isn't just about the law. It's also personal. He has a cousin with cerebral palsy, which means he encounters this situation far too often. "It set a fire inside me [growing up]," he shared. "If we went somewhere and we could not partake in something because of someone’s ignorance of the situation." So the next time you see someone disregarding the rules, speak up.