When Australian mom Justine Van Der Borne was at Michigan Shopping Centre with her daughter, she was having a good day. . . until one person decided to ruin it with a cruel note on her windshield.
Justine’s car was parked in an accessible space, and when she returned, there was a note on her windshield that read “Did you forget your wheelchair???” In a Facebook post that has gone viral, Justine decided to school the person that left the note, giving a lesson in acceptance, kindness, and disability acceptance.
“I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I was 35,” she wrote. “Not just MS but the worst one that never goes away and is slowly crippling my life. My kids have had to deal with things that kids shouldn’t ever have to deal with and all of our futures are forever changed.”
Justine went on to explain that, on the day the note-leaver saw her, she was having a “good day.” “I was walking with my daughter unaided having a nice day,” she wrote. “Thank you for ruining that. You made me feel like people were looking at me, the exact way I feel when I can’t walk properly.”
People with disabilities may not always look like they have a disability every day, but that doesn’t mean they don’t, she continued. “I am sick of people like yourself abusing me on my good days for using a facility I am entitled to,” she wrote. “A disability doesn’t always mean a person has to be wheelchair bound but lucky for you I one day will be.”
And then, she ended her post with a punch to the gut. “Right now my focus is to walk into my best friends wedding next September and not have to be pushed. I will be 42,” she wrote. “Before you ruin another [person’s] day remember you don’t know everything and just because you can’t see it it doesn’t mean a person isn’t struggling to put one foot in front of the other.”
The post has since been shared almost 60,000 times with over 40,000 comments, and for a seriously amazing reason. Ableism is real and rampant. It’s so essential to stop putting people in boxes; just because someone is not wheelchair-bound doesn’t mean they’re not enduring pain and turmoil every single day.
Thank you, Justine, for shedding light on such an important issue. We think you’re beautiful, inside and out.
(Image via Facebook.)