Friday, November 12, 2010

Offensive flyers left for disabled motorists

From WLBT-TV in Miss.:

CLINTON, Miss. -- If the person who made the flyer is trying to get a point across, he picked a cowardly way to do it. The flyer depicts a man giving the finger, and states "You disabled people can kiss my a**. I am far more special and deserving of this parking space than your sorry a** will ever be. Besides, I am only going into the store for a minute."

"What happened to common decency?" says Misty Mathis of Clinton. Her mother-in-law, and her father-in-law, who has had both hips replaced, received the flyer last week during a visit to the Clinton Kroger. The couple didn't want to be interviewed. Their car has a handicapped license plate.

"He walks with a cane, he's worked his whole life, paid his taxes, now he is disabled," Mathis says. "He does the driving because my mother in law recently lost sight in one of her eyes."

The patronizing tone of the flyer didn't sit well with the family.

"I'd love to find out who this is, look them straight in the eyes, ask them what makes you think you're any more special than my father in law who is disabled?" Mathis asks.

You may think such a flyer is mean spirited, but perfectly legal. Turns out, it's illegal.

"It's in violation of our planning and zoning ordinance, which prohibits individuals from placing any flyer on parked vehicles, or in mailboxes or other areas," says Clinton Police Chief Don Byington. If caught, the offender would get a ticket and a summons to court.

It's unclear if the guy in the picture is the person placing the flyers, but plenty of disabled folks we talked to in Clinton would like him to show his face.

"I think he needs an attitude adjustment," says Norman Joiner, who pulled up at Kroger. Even though Joiner has a handicapped tag, on this occasion he has to walk a long distance because all the handicapped parking spaces at Kroger are taken. "My last four vertebrae are twisted, fused. I have spurs all up and down my backbone," he says of his injuries.

3 On Your Side took note that each car parked in a handicapped spot at Kroger Friday morning did have a handicapped hanger or tag.

In the past, we've exposed people without the tags parking in handicapped spots across the metro. There have also been complaints of people with handicapped tags, who look able-bodied.

It makes no difference to those left holding the offensive flyer. "It's very immature. This is not the way to solve the problem," Mathis says.

A manager inside Kroger says the surveillance cameras they have mounted outside the store probably would not pick up a clear image of a person leaving flyers on the cars.