An Australian woman found a shocking note on her windshield that prompted her to speak out about her physical disability.
Justine Van Den Borne said she was at a shopping center with her daughter when she came across the note on her windshield -- placed just above her disability parking permit on the dashboard, The Age reports.
“Did you forget your wheelchair???” the note read.
Van Den Borne was shocked and hurt. Disabled by Multiple Sclerosis, the woman took to Facebook to speak out against the note:
“To person that left this on my car last week at Mitcham Shopping Centre- I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I was 35. Not just MS but the worst one that never goes away and is slowly crippling my life. My kids have had to deal with things that kids shouldn't ever have to deal with and all of our futures are forever changed. On the day you saw me I was having a good day, I was walking with my daughter unaided having a nice day.”
“Thank you for ruining that. You made me feel like people were looking at me, the exact way I feel when I can't walk properly. I am sick of people like yourself abusing me on my good days for using a facility I am entitled to. A disability doesn't always mean a person has to be wheelchair bound but lucky for you I one day will be.”
Van Den Borne added that the incident points to a larger problem: the stigma that comes with having an “invisible” disability.
The 41-year-old told The Age that situations like her most recent one happen “all the time.”
"Because of my age, they look at me, and automatically presume I'm doing the wrong thing," she said. "But actually I can't carry my own shopping, can't walk long distance, I have the bladder of an 80-year-old."
Van Den Borne, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 35, said her condition has gotten progressively worse over the years.
“It's difficult, every day it gets a little bit harder,” she said. “I can't do zips up, can't do buttons up, probably won't able to drive soon and lose a bit more independence, unfortunately."
“Right now my focus is to walk into my best friends wedding next September and not have to be pushed. I will be 42,” Van Den Borne added in her Facebook post. “Before you ruin another persons day remember you don't know everything and just because you can't see it it doesn't mean a person isn't struggling to put one foot in front of the other.”