Sammy Nickalls
June 14, 2016 12:20 pm
Facebook / Rebecca Landis Hayes

When Rebecca Landis Hayes parked in the veterans-only parking spot at the Coddle Creek Harris Teeter in Concord, North Carolina, she didn’t think anything of it. After all, she served in the United States Navy for eight years. However, sadly, she encountered a massive dose of passive-aggressive misogyny just because she’s a woman — and she had the best response.

Rebecca was just in the store for a minute, but when she returned, there was a nasty handwritten note left on her windshield that read, “This parking is for veterans, lady. Learn to read [and] have some respect.”

Rebecca posted a picture of the note on Facebook, dedicating the caption to the person who left it. “It was hot,” Rebecca wrote. “I had been in and out of my car several times already this afternoon, and I was only going to be a minute. . . I’m sorry that you can’t see my eight years of service in the United [States] Navy.”

She also pointed out that the note-writer’s “narrow mysogynistic world view can’t conceive. . . the fact that there are female [v]eterans.”

“I’m sorry that I have to explain myself to people like you,” she wrote. “Mostly, I’m sorry that we didn’t get a chance to have this conversation face to face, and that you didn’t have the integrity and intestinal fortitude to identify yourself, qualities the military emphasizes. Which leads to one question, I served, did you?”

The post has been shared over 2,000 times, with dozens apologizing for Rebecca’s experience and thanking her for her service.

It just goes to show that assumptions — especially those based in sexism and gender constructs — should always, always be questioned. Instead of leaving nasty notes on peoples’ cars when they park in veteran and/or handicapped spaces, let’s check ourselves and try a little bit of compassion instead. There are so many things that you simply cannot tell just by looking at someone.

That said, we’re so happy Rebecca took this negative moment in her life and turned it into a teachable moment for us all — and we thank her so much for her service.

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