Letter: If they want my parking spot, let them take my handicap

Dear Lakewood Scoop readers,

I have noticed a very disturbing trend over the last number of years that seems to be getting progressively worse.

People who bh have no physical disabilities, will park in a marked handicap spot, ensuring that when someone who actually has a challenge walking or ambulating , won’t be able to shop, go into their apartment or home, or go elsewhere.

I had a very close friend named Yochi AH whose second yahrtzeit was last week. He used to walk around with oxygen 24/7 and rightfully had a permit.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times we would attempt to meet at various places but we had to cancel because he had no place to park.

He would frequently say “if they want my parking spot, let them take my handicap.”

I have another close friend from Camp Simcha named Daniel. Daniel has Muscular Dystrophy and only has limited movement with his right hand. He gets around in a power wheelchair and has a modified vehicle that he’s able to drive.

Last year at a wedding in Lake Terrace, I observed him sitting in the parking lot in his chair at 10:30 PM. I asked him what was wrong. He pointed out that while he was parked in the handicap spot, someone snuck into the blue marked lines surrounding the spot so Daniel could not get into the car. We had to go inside, stop the band and make an announcement asking the person to move his car. All of the apologies that were given don’t negate the fact that Daniel sat in the parking lot for over 45 minutes.

Raboisai, we are a community of Chessed. We do everything for people who aren’t well. Millions of dollars are raised every year for Hatzolah, Bikur Cholim, Chai Lifeline, RCCS, The Special Children’s Center etc.

If we can dig deep into our pockets to support these great institutions, can’t we dig into our hearts and say we will leave these spots for those who really need them?

Perhaps instead of parking there, we can find a further spot and be grateful we are able to walk an extra 100 feet. Your cardiologist would probably suggest and appreciate that too.

One more important note. The handicap permit is only when the person with the disability is actually in the car. Having a family member or friend with a disability doesn’t give you the right to put the permit in the windshield and run into a store to go shopping or get a hair cut.

When one gets a ticket for parking in a handicap spot, aside for the hefty fine, it requires a mandatory court appearance. This gives the judge the opportunity to ask you in front of the entire courtroom why you would park there. That has to be pretty humiliating.

In the merit of being Nosei Bi’Ohl Im Chaveiro,” caring / sharing in each others burden, may we will be zocheh to good health for all of us and may all of the handicap spots remain empty and open.

Have a healthy and relaxing summer.

Simcha Shain
Hatzolah, Chai Lifeline and Special Children’s Center paramedic

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33 COMMENTS

  1. This has been on my mind for so long. It hurts me to see people so selfish. I hope that people can come to the understanding and not just thunk about themselves in the future. May mashiach be here soon and no more need for those spots.

  2. One has to wonder if not being able to read a no parking in a handicapped spot is a disability. Bore’ Olam should bless us with a great week.

  3. Is there anyone in town who’s more Metapel with these kids than, 19, Simcha Shain ?
    And if he says it’s a problem, its a problem.
    I feel so bad for that kid who had to wait 45 in the parking lot.
    I dont recall ever parking in a handicap spot but I do sometimes cross over the Blue lines.
    Let us all start caring a little more and give these ppl the space they need.

  4. I’m a doctor here in Lakewood and had a patient come to me because he wanted to park in handicapped parking. I asked what eh problem was. He answered a flare up of low back pain. I told him a flare up is a short term problem and that handicapped parking is for people that have trouble walking or have a serious heart problem or breathing problem. Not for someone that wants to park close to a store. He wasn’t very happy and stormed out of the office. So far he hasn’t returned

  5. I was unable to walk for a while recently and had the same experience. Its really embarrassing that in Lakewood people think its not really for handicapped people. You might have to walk a minute bet being a jerk is worse.

  6. I could not agree more. I carry this in my car and put it on the windsheild of violaters- “You ar Parked in a Handicap parking spot. I hope that you never have toreally need one. Some people do.”

  7. Yes!!! When you park next to a handicap spot make sure you leave extra space incase the car has a ramp that needs space. I’ve had to back up to open up a ramp for my friend.

  8. Thank you. I cannot tell you how many times my mother AH had to go to another store, another bank branch or cancel a doctor’s appointment because she could not use the handicap spots she needed. Unfortunately, and shockingly for a community like ours,this has been an issue for years. I remember Rabbi Paysach Krohn once spoke here in Lakewood years ago about this and shared that frightening Mishna basically saying that those who pretend to be handicapped will indeed become handicapped. Simply makes no sense and there is no excuse for a healthy person to ever park anytime in a handicapped spot anywhere.

    While we are on the topic of parking I was blown away yesterday when I went to be Menachem Avel in Toms River, yes it was raining, and someone pulled up (I kid you not) and parked his car on the LAWN of the Nifteres family. Why look for a spot when I can park on someones grass???!!!

  9. Thank you for pointing it on lakewood scoop. I would recommend this note should launched by our Rabbis in every shull and Beth midrash so everyone can listen and follow it.
    תזכה למצות

  10. Hi simcha
    First of all I can relate to what is being said here as my wife has a disability and constantly cant get parking as people use the spots who don’t need them I once confronted a store owner in town as why doesn’t he enforce it his answer was those spots are there only to get his co but anyone can use them and too bad
    I have many pictures of cars parked in handicapped spots that dont belong there it is a total disregard for people who need them

  11. Unfortunately this has been going on for years.
    A. The police do not enforce it by giving tickets, hence people don’t care
    B. Many wedding halls and shuls have removed the signs and markings and the township doesn’t enforce it.
    C. Many years ago my handicapped relative asked Rabbi Forcheimer what to do if he comes and needs the spot and it is illegally taken. Rabbi Forcheimer said “you should call the police”.
    Until it hurts institutions and people in their pockets, hence fines and tickets, selfish people will continue to act selfish.

  12. I feel like the problem with these letters on the scoop is that they misrepresent an issue to people who don’t live in Lakewood. From what I’ve seen, as a long time Lakewood resident, 99%+ of the time Handycap spots are empty or being used by those who need them. Is there room for improvement? Clearly- as the better and above commenters have made clear. Is this a huge across the board issue? Absolutely not.

    • Were you ever in the parking lot at Rabbi Gissinger Shul?
      Do you know where the handicap spots are at that Shul?
      It is very possible that the Shul were you daven does not have this problem.
      Lakewood today is a very large city.

  13. Couldn’t be said better! Hopefully the fact that it’s from a respected Simcha Shain will have some impact.

    For years I’ve watched able-bodied people take advantage of those reserved parking spots… and, yes, many of them have some placard hanging in their windows, but clearly their mobility, speed, & strength would indicate the placard was not issued for them. The other day I watched a young man, holding his phone, drive into a handicapped space & blithely jump out of his car, run across into the store, presumably to pick up just one item or get a free cup of coffee(!) Sure, he was gone in about 10-15 minutes but that didn’t help the senior citizen behind me who had to drive away.

    There are many older people now living in our ihr hakodesh, having moved here to spend their golden years with children & grandchildren (and who are often the people who most support local businesses!) — whose simple effort to buy food at supermarkets becomes an impossible burden because they require the handicapped spot some healthy individual selfishly used. And by the way, this applies to all stores, offices, simcha halls, and even unfortunately at shuls.

    I try not to judge people because I know that many disabilities are not necessarily visible, but for those of you who think you’re clever enough to beat the system, know that even if you don’t get ticketed and embarrassed in a courtroom, you will have to answer to the Ultimate Judge as to why you made other people’s lives miserable.

  14. So this article becomes fodder for anti-semites? You insult every handicapped person in every community anywhere. And yes, having been handicapped and living in Lakewood this is very real. It is surprising that in this community it is well known (or should be obvious) that a:) you do not worship yourself and b:) stealing another’s time has no repentance. When I asked someone to move, showing my handicapped tag to him, he pushed open his door and threw me to the ground with my cane which got flung twenty feet away. He immediately fled so I could not get his license number. He did this with his wife and 4 kids in the car. Several hundred years ago, in a sefer called “Sod HaTorah”, the Ibn Ezra said that one in one thousand understood how to conduct themselves in public. More recently, in “Kol Ha’Tor”, the Vilna Gaon said one in ten-thousand. Imagine this being a trend. So I ask you, where are we now and where are we headed? The truth cannot be buried and the price of these sins must be paid one way or another.

    • That is a terrible thing to happen. I do think however that most people who park in handicapped spots are doing it because they don’t think about who will suffer as a result. If you ask most people to move most would be embarrassed that they were caught doing something wrong. I’m sorry for the pain that happened to you and that’s really not okay but at the same time, I don’t think it’s true that most people would have the same reaction as the man that attacked you.

  15. The bais hamikdash was destroyed Bec of ” Shelo nahagu bekavod ze laze” a lot of people still have not taken this lesson to heart. it’s a major problem in town and the cops do nothing about it.

  16. I love the line that the Rabbonim should address the issue in order to remedy it: If there is an issue that makes sense on the most elementary level, why does it become a massive shaila in hanhaga? People should have the common decency to respect handicapped spots as reserved for those who need them. Oy lanu if basic issues of derech eretz and Kovod Habriyos have to be impressed and enforced upon a Tzibbur that holds itself to be Bnei Torah.

  17. Rachel-
    Don’t EVER judge.
    My friend looks perfectly healthy. She’ll “blithely lump out of her car” as you write – and then: if there’s a drop of rain, she’ll slip; if it’s less than 60 degrees, she’ll hurry up and make sure not to spend an extra 3 seconds before her leg spasms from the cold and she can’t make it back to the car safely…
    She comes home from every errand and recovers for 3 hours in bed from what everyone else does mindlessly on the way home from work.
    So until you’ve read her medical file, don’t EVER judge.

    • Resident-
      If they have a handicapped label hanging in their car we know they are handicapped. if not we are allowed to consider them able bodied and judge.

  18. I would like to mention a story that took place many years ago. Mr. Avrohom Kranz Z”L became handicapped after suffering a stroke. A very nice person that would never complain or say a bad word about anything or anyone. He would get up extremly early ever day so that he could get dressed and drive to Daven Shacharis at Congeration Zichron Schner. Upon visiting him one day, he said to me, “do you know what happend to me today? (he started to cry) I could not Daven with the Minyan today. I got to Shul, the parking lot was full, and someone was parked in the handicapped spot.”

  19. It pains me to see stores before Pesach put tents or wagons in the disability spots because they are close to the store. That has to stop.

  20. I’ve been to places that has no spots.
    Where should I park.
    I do agree that in most cases it isn’t nice but sometimes I also need a spot.
    Regarding the person that saw someone park on a lawn- It could’ve been a really close family friend or even relative of the nifterres.
    Also the lady who has foot spasms, I can’t imagine the stares you must get while everyone decides you shouldn’t have parked somewhere.
    We also need to judge favorable

  21. Simcha, I could never turn down a request from you and still live with myself and I’m one out of thousands who feel the same.

  22. I was brought up in a home that took a sensitivity to people with disabilities. It bothered me to see so many times people parking wrongfully in handicapped spots. The best I was able to Dan lchav zechus is they take literally bishvilli Nivra Haolam!

  23. Thank you for this important letter!!
    As someone with a disability (cerebral palsy), and eligible for a parking permit. Since I Baruch Hashem can get around independently (with pain), I have opted to not apply for the permit, so that I won’t be tempted to use the handicap spot when there are others available…. So as to leave it available for others who would need it even more than I do.

    Additionally, regarding the comments about people who may appear non-disabled. There are a group of conditions such as crohn’s, colitis, other IBS, that would in fact make it necessary for them to be closer proximity to the store, etc. There are a large group of disabilities that would be classified as invisible.

  24. Thank you for this important letter!!
    As someone with a disability (cerebral palsy), and eligible for a parking permit. Since I Baruch Hashem can get around independently (with pain), I have opted to not apply for the permit, so that I won’t be tempted to use the handicap spot when there are others available…. So as to leave it available for others who would need it even more than I do.

    Additionally, regarding the comments about people that look non-disabled. There are a whole host of disabilities that are invisible – think Crohn’s, colitis, other IBS. These conditions would make it necessary for the person park in closer proximity to the store, shul, home, etc.

  25. Years ago in Texas had the system to alleviate this problem and giving the handicaps job. They deputized the handicaps and gave th authorization to write tickets for people who park in handicap spots

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