Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Dose of Perspective at McDonalds

Years ago a mentor of mine emphasized a motto about perspective. He said "Perspective is reality". He said it and meant that each person's perspective is their reality.

I had a little lesson in perspective today.

I consider myself a handicap aware person. I am conscious of those that are handicap and I often notice when handicap amenities are not what they should be. My dad suffered a stroke almost 7 years ago. He has paralysis on his left side of his body. His journey through stroke recovery and survival has had a tremendous affect on me. That said, I get really frustrated when I see people use handicap parking places when they don't need them. It irritates me. I usually give the people the "evil eye" and grumble to myself about how people can be so inconsiderate.

Today, in between soccer games, we took the kids to McDonalds. I was driving and my dad was in the passenger seat. Naturally we parked in the handicap spot. His handicap tag was in clear view hanging from my rear-view mirror.

After we ate, we let the kids play. One of us needed to run to the house to pick up cleats and a uniform for the next boys' game. I volunteered to make the quick trip.

I walked briskly out to my car. As I got in, I looked up to see a group standing on the sidewalk giving me the evil eye. I wanted to explain. I felt like saying- 'hey, my dad's inside'. It was crazy. From their perspective, I was abusing the handicap parking tag sign. I drove away, slightly amused at the judgement I received. When I came back I again, I parked in the handicap parking place. That would be the easiest place for my dad to get back in the car. Sure enough, there were different people around but they gave me the same looks of disapproval.

Maybe I imagined it. Maybe, I didn't. Either way, it was a nice reminder that I don't have the perspective of other people. I often make quick judgments based on the limited knowledge I have.

My perspective is my reality. I cannot account for what I don't know. But, I can be more willing to accept that I don't know the full story.


Seth said...

You should have limped.

Missy said...

Oh JA, I wish there were more people like you who were willing to think that their perspective is not always reality.

BTW, how could those people be giving you the stink-eye if you had the handicap tag hanging properly?

Trisha said...

"You never know the whole story" is what I try to remind myself before jumping to conclusions.
And yes, the limping would made for a funny story. :)

Thanks for sharing!

Jane Anne said...

They were giving me the "stink-eye" because clearly I don't look handicap.

For anyone that doesn't know, Seth is my husband. He's a good (and funny) man.

McCrakensx4 said...

Well said. I have done the exact same thing and learned the exact same lesson. Too funny, though, what Seth

Anonymous said...

I do not find what Seth said funny! Mocking Individuals with Disabilities is ethically way off base. Individuals with Disabilities already have a mountain to climb just to participate in societies everyday events; do not encourage ignorant behavior just to please ignorant people!

momstheword said...

I have had this happen before too. I will often drop my mom off near the door and then go park, with her handicap tag hanging for all to see.

I have seen so many people park there without the tag, and it's annoying, because I know that it takes away from those who need it and don't have a daughter who can drop them at the door.

A long time ago we were at Disney World and there was a group of kids with a wheelchair. Those kids kept changing who sat in the wheelchair whenever they came up to a line.

Seems like every time we saw them, someone else was sitting there. Obviously they wanted to get through the lines faster. Now I think you need a note from your doctor or something.

samantha said...

Don't you only wish you were as quick thinking as your husband haha

Salty Mom said...

Too funny we were just talking about this on Thursday at moms group and how so often lessons in humility have come when we are put in the positions of people we judge. It a good lesson just hard one to remember (:

Beth E. said...

Okay...Seth's comment totally cracked me up!

This is a great post, Jane Anne. You are so right...we are quick to make judgments without knowing the full story. Very well said!

Mimi said...

Great post. I have to be honest & say that I have given dirty looks myself when a seemingly non-handicapped have used that space. Although usually occurs when the person in question has no handicapped tags anywhere.

MiMi said...

Oh man I had this comment all ready and then I read Seth's comment and I can't quit laughing!

ChupieandJ'smama said...

Thanks for the post! I'm ready to get my "food allergy mom hatchet" out today and take a few heads off. Maybe I need to see things from a different perspective before I go in for the kill;) Thanks for the reminder!