A student in the U.K. was shocked to find a note on her car shaming her for parking in a disabled spot, and calling her “fat and ugly.”
Sarah Metcalfe, a 35-year-old doctorate student and tutor at University of York, parked her car in a disabled spot at a grocery store on April 30 and went shopping with her 13-year-old son, reports Nouse. When they returned to the car, Metcalfe’s son found a note on the front windshield.
“Being fat and ugly doesn’t count as disabled,” the note read. “Park elsewhere.”
Metcalfe was, in fact, within her rights to park in the spot despite not being “visibly” disabled. The young mother has fibromyalgia, an autoimmune disease that causes musculoskeletal pain and fatigue. Metcalfe said she was in “disbelief” over the note and later shared it on Facebook.
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“Despite the fact that I work hard (I never take sick time), don’t claim disability benefits (not that it’s wrong for people that do) and I juggle work and family life I was really just having a BAD and very painful day,” she wrote. She said her reasoning for parking in the spot was to be as close to the store as possible so she didn’t have to carry heavy bags too far.
Some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia, detailed in Metcalfe's Facebook post, include chronic fatigue, increased sensitivity to pain, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and depression, and irritable bowel syndrome.
“I didn’t really want to create attention to myself with getting this note because it’s quite embarrassing and it was quite hurtful, but I felt compelled to challenge perceptions of people in this way,” Metcalfe told Nouse. “That person who judged me on my appearance doesn’t know me as a person, doesn’t know what kind of day I’ve had or what’s going on in my life.”
The woman, whose Facebook post went viral after being shared more than 3,000 times, said she was simply trying to educate those who don’t know about the her “invisible illness” and bring about awareness.
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“I just felt like I needed to educate this person. If they did own up to what they did,” she said, “I would happily sit down and talk to them and explain about what challenges I face on a day-to-day basis.”
Photo Credit: Sarah Metcalfe via Nouse