Whoever left the angry note on Matt Millstead’s car a couple of weeks ago has wisely remained as anonymous as when he (or she) wrote it, because his stupidity has made him, or at least his thoughtless actions, instantly world-famous.
What happened is this: Millstead, 36, came out of the Grand Rapids YMCA on October 9 to find the following scrawled missive stuck in the door handle of his vehicle.
“I would love to see your wheelchair!" wrote the anonymous correspondent. "I'm guessing male 25-35 years professional who thinks he's got the world by the ass. But I could be wrong."
It’s true that Millstead was parked in a handicapped space. His handicapped parking permit was properly displayed on his car’s rear-view mirror.
That’s because Millstead is quadriplegic. He has been in a wheelchair for nearly two decades. He was at the YMCA to take part in a game of wheelchair rugby.
While Millstead said he was merely “puzzled” by the note and as to why “he would leave this note and never met me, didn't know if I was in a wheelchair or not, but he just assumed I was just someone who tried to steal a close and convenient spot.”
But his wife Leslie was steamed. She took to Facebook, to publicly shame the anonymous note-writer.
“I wanted to tell you a little bit about my husband since you took the time to write him in the parking lot last night,” she posted. “You were so close on the age, he’s actually 36, and he is a professional with a full-time job. He is also a quadriplegic, which for him means that he can no longer move his legs or his fingers in either hand. He has no grip. So, if you are willing to give him your functioning hands and legs for the rest of your life in exchange for his 6-year old BMW and handicapped parking pass, I’m sure he’d make that trade.”
After her Facebook post, the story of the nasty note spread quickly around the world, receiving coverage in news outlets as far away as Australia. The Millsteads (pictured) say they are uneasy with the attention, but Leslie Millstead hopes the incident can function as a teachable moment.
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“We have to really think before we make rash judgments,” she said. “We’ve all done it. I’ve done it, Matt’s done it — we’re not perfect. But it was just really upsetting to get just an unkind note for no reason.”