Monday, March 4, 2013
For twenty long minutes we had been driving round and round the parking lot. It was unusually full. Suddenly, a car whizzed past us and parked in the space reserved for Persons With Disability (PWD).
When the driver got out of the car, she looked like she stepped out of a fashion magazine—she was tottering on a five-inch heels in animal prints! Tony and I thought she might have a PWD passenger.
She was alone.
Blood rushed to my head and it was one of those moments when my archived temper came back with a vengeance. Alas, we had not yet fully stopped or I would have told the guard to run after her and make her a PWD to deserve the parking space.
Many people are so self absorbed they have no regard for those who are unable to physically fend for themselves. I wish the sign below, which I borrowed from the Net, would be posted in all spaces (comfort room, ramp, elevator, parking slot, etc.) reserved for PWD.
I've always known how difficult it is to be physical handicapped. All it took was one acute illness that sapped my strength for a few days (surgery and childbirth, among others) to realize that being physically impaired is frustrating. Now, how about if you had a handicap that prevents you from being as mobile as man was meant to be?
When I was writing Flying on Broken Wings (Stories of courage in overcoming disability), I was given the grace of understanding the differently abled. I talked at length with over a dozen people who have to live with the absence of sight, feet, muscles, hands, fingers, hearing and voice.
Their greatest difficulty is not so much the disability itself, but other people's apathy over their plight.
All they want is free access to all the things that normal people have access to. Parking space, among them. That's not much, is it?
We have a law, Republic Act No. 7277 (Magna Carta for Disabled Persons) that provides for the rehabilitation, self-development and self reliance of disabled persons and their integration into the mainstream of society and other purposes.
There are organizations (one of them is Akap Pinoy) helping PWDs earn their rightful place in society. These are coordinated by the National Council of Disability Affairs (NCDA), the government agency mandated to formulate policies that concern disability issues.
Not too many people are aware of these, but we don't even have to be. All we need is a space in our heart that cares for the rights of others.
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12 (NLT)