For years, many laws have been passed and many campaigns have been made to promote the welfare of persons with disabilities.
Laws and advocacies that have likewise fallen on many deaf ears.
Today, many persons with disabilities still experience difficulty in their everyday life as they try to navigate a chaotic and unfeeling world. Most of them encounter impatience, prejudice, and lack of consideration.
While there are some people who are kind enough to help them, violence and abuse are still among the major problems confronting persons with disabilities.
In the case of this wheelchair user named Yvette Pegues, whose story appeared in Newsweek, she found herself stranded for hours at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia. Upon arrival at the airport and on her way home, Yvette encountered an illegally parked car in the handicapped-designated area.
“I can’t even get out of the parking lot because my van has been blocked by someone who is illegally parked. The police department won’t do anything, the parking managers won’t do anything, I’m out here alone in the dark and can’t get home,” said Yvette in the video that she posted on Tiktok, which now has more than 1.5 million views.
♿️ The “special lift area” or diagonal lines around #ADA or #handicapparking allows space for passengers to use a ramp, lift or other equipment to operate the vehicle. When it’s blocked, we can’t go home‼️
Yvette told Newsweek that it was such a traumatic experience for her since, in addition to not being able to get into her van, she was subjected to harsh comments from people who were passing by. But she could not move due to the illegally parked car whose owner must have been aware of the meaning of the blue diagonal lines in the handicapped-designated area — it’s a special lift area where a ramp, lift, or some other equipment is needed for getting into a parked car.
After being given a roundabout by the police and parking managers, an airport employee came upon Yvette and tried to help resolve the problem. He contacted a police sergeant who phoned for a tow truck to remove the illegally parked car that obstructed Yvette’s access. However, when the tow truck arrived, it did not pass the height requirement for entry to the parking lot.
Having spent more than four hours in the area with the problem still unresolved, Yvette’s husband went to pick her up, although they had to leave her mobility equipment, since his car was small. This resulted in Yvette’s returning to the airport the next day to retrieve it. But, finally, she learned that after 18 hours, the authorities were able to tow away the illegally parked car.
Yvette posted another video on Tiktok, thanking those who expressed their support for her. She also emphasized the need for airport police to undergo more training and education to prevent similar issues, which are deeply stressful for persons with disabilities like her.
Here are some caring comments from Tiktok:
Brenlee7 wrote, “You go through a lot to maintain independence. How dare people take that away!”
Devin remarked, “Geez, at that point I would just ask the parking employee to drive your car a few feet forward for you so you can get in. Thats so ridiculous tho (Not saying you did anything wrong btw. That’s an awful situation to be in).”
Daney2u commented, “There’s another car parked illegally across from that one. The black one is parked in the blue-lined area. I guess the airport doesn’t ticket/tow?”
To which MissLeetza reacted, “Wait. No ticket? No tow for illegal parking? That’s how wrongful parking works. This is crazy!”
Meanwhile, Rachael Reeves could not help reacting too. “You shouldn’t have to deal with this in the first place, and you shouldn’t have to solve the problem yourself.”
♿️ I appreciate those who commented with support, compassion and an impressive understanding of disability-human rights and ADA law. I’ll do my best here to help fill in some blanks for those who asked if I was ok and requested updates👍🏼 1. Not a fake video or overblown situation. It happens to disabled drivers often. This time I documented. 2. There are 2 buttons on call box: police and parking. Each told me to call the other from box. I was not given direct phn. 3. No tow signs. Fam made calls from hm to find tow co. willing to tow me or other car from an ATL city owned prop. Liabilities prohibited airport staff to operate ADA van. 4. I did NOT [intentionally] yell at operator. Was asked to speak up on earlier calls due to loud surround sounds from rooftop of airport garage. 5. The recorded call ended amicably. He said he’d send an officer and directed me back to parking space. I thanked him. No one came. 6. I was periodically harassed [again] by strangers in lot. Cell phone died. Went back inside for health and safety reasons. 7. Ran into w/c transport who helped me off plane hrs earlier. He alerted police SGT who walked me back to lot. 8. Sergeant AWESOME spent the next 90 mins demanding issue get resolved. Took both police AND parking sup. on phn to get city contracted tow truck to agree to come. After it arrived at parking structure entrance, they said truck had no [height] clearance to get to rooftop. 9. We left van b/c I was no longer medically, mentally or physically able to drive hm safely. Other car was still there. 10. Next day, told car was finally towed…18 hours later. Retrieved van. Rtn’d back hm safely…PTL🙏🏽 Education, training and disruptive change is needed for airport police and parking management co. to change policies, enforce ADA laws and hold offenders accountable!