Anna Gragert
September 04, 2015 1:59 pm

Last Friday in Westminster, Colorado, 10-year-old  Kaitlyn Barringer and her mom Naomi returned to their car after shopping at Target, only to find a piece of paper lodged beneath their windshield wiper. “I thought it was a flyer,” Naomi told 9News. But it wasn’t a flyer —the paper was an anonymous, typed-out letter criticizing the pair for parking in a handicap spot.

The letter read, “Greetings. I observed you parking in this handicap parking place today. It appears that you are not really handicap. Perhaps just in a hurry or worse, just plain lazy.”

Sadly, the author of this message was incorrect in their assumption. The 10-year-old actually copes with hypophosphatasia, which is a rare genetic disorder that causes her bones to be weak and fragile. Because of this, Kaitlyn is often in pain and does require a handicap parking spot. According to Metro.co, “Every step Kaitlynn takes puts her in danger of breaking her ankles, qualifying her for a disabled sticker on her mother’s car.”

“I was offended, I was hurt actually. I really didn’t know people thought of me like that,” says the young girl when discussing the heartbreaking situation. “I am disabled and they may not know that and I can understand that because I do look normal but I don’t think they have to do that.”

We’re sad to say that the note didn’t end there. It went on to add, “In case you don’t know, these spots are reserved for people who are truly handicapped and because of idiots like you, they have to park farther away or not be able to come here at all.” The note also informed the mom and daughter that the police had been informed about their license plate information. 

In response to this incident, Kaitlyn has a powerful, important message to anyone who has ever been wrongly accused of “faking” their handicap, like she was: “This made me very sad so I feel like I’d try to comfort them and tell them that they aren’t stupid, they aren’t lazy and they have this for a reason,” she states. “They have the sign because they need it.”

Colorado’s Westminster Police recommends that one call law enforcement if they feel that someone is misusing a handicap parking spot. They assert that an individual should not confront the person or send them a note.

Ultimately, we hope that this regrettable occurrence serves as an example for others. While this idiom may be overused, it still reigns true: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

[Images via Twitter]

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