Knee jerk reaction: Halifax man frustrated about attacks over accessible parking access
A note left on Dan Trivett's windshield Tuesday night was "the final straw" for man suffering invisible illness
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When Dan Trivett read the note on his windshield accusing him of being disrespectful by parking in an accessible spot, it was the final straw.
The Halifax man is speaking out on behalf of people like himself who have invisible illnesses and face verbal abuse for using the accessible parking spaces to which they’re entitled. He said it’s an issue he faces almost daily.
“I get glares, or people sneer at me or talk (rudely to) me because I don’t walk with a cane, I don’t have a walker, I’m not a hunched over senior, I don’t have an obvious disability,” Trivett said.
“I’m a person who outwardly looks relatively normal but I do have a limp. I have a lot of hardware in my leg and that note on my windshield pissed me off. It was the last straw.”
Trivett was parked outside a Bayers Lake store on Tuesday night and emerged to find the note tucked under his wiper blade. “I saw you walking. You seem to walk fine. Show some respect,” the note stated.
Trivett has had 16 knee operations and three knee replacements since 1996, the year he was hit by a car while cycling in New York City.
His right kneecap was removed in 1998. The next year, at the age of 32, he had his first knee replacement. Not only did he have no kneecap, there was no cartilage left.
“Every step I take hurts me…Just because a person doesn’t look sick doesn’t mean they’re not,” he said.
“You wouldn’t go up to someone with a mental illness and say ‘What the hell is wrong with you? Why are you crying so much?’ You wouldn’t go up to someone with cancer and say ‘Suck it up and get over it.’ You wouldn’t do that to anybody.”
Trivett said people need to step back and think twice because there are many people dealing with illnesses that aren’t obvious.
“If I see someone parked in a spot with a handicapped pass I don’t question them because I think it might be for their parent or something,” he said.
“Yes, they might be abusing it. But I’m not going to question them because you never know. They might have a kidney problem or a back issue, or anything else.”
Trivett stressed he isn’t looking for sympathy because he considers himself lucky to be able to walk. He hopes able-bodied people will think twice before parking in accessible parking spaces just because they’re closer to the door.
He also wants people to think twice before jumping to conclusions.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover is kind of where I’m hoping to go with this. I want to educate people,” he said.
“Maybe whoever left this note for me will see this and maybe they’ll actually think next time.”