"I know I make it look easy but it’s still really hard - my legs are heavy, they hurt me, I’m in pain."
One woman with prosthetic legs had to prove that she deserved to use the parking designated for disabled people. The woman took to Tik Tok to speak of the unfortunate incident that left her shocked and distressed. According to 7news.com.au, Jessica Long, a decorated swimmer, who won one gold, three silver, and two bronze medals at the 2016 Paralympic Games called out the "handicap police" through her video on TikTok.
The woman began the video by saying, "So, it just happened again. I was parking my car—and I hope she sees this—this woman just has the nerve to look me up and down disgusted that I parked in the handicapped spot." Though Long explained that she did not have legs, the woman was not convinced. Long narrated, "I don't have legs. But she just kind of rolled down her window and proceeded to be like, 'You shouldn't park there.'"
Further, Long disclosed that she was an amputee with a verified pass. Consequently, the woman drove away without saying a word. Commenting on the incident, Long stated, "I was never bullied as a kid, and I didn't know that I was going to be bullied as an adult because I park in handicapped. I get it. I'm young and athletic but I'm also missing legs. I know I make it look easy but it’s still really hard - my legs are heavy, they hurt me, I’m in pain."
Long's story and her video went viral. It reminded the public of how important it was to include people with all disabilities and not discriminate between visible and invisible disabilities. "I get it, I don’t 'look' handicapped, but what does that even mean?! I’ve been through more surgeries than I can count. My whole life I’ve had to adapt. I rely on my handicap pass. Every day is different... Some days my legs don’t hurt as bad, but for the most part they cause me pain. So, when I park in a handicap spot, I actually need it. There’s some people who will abuse handicap parking, but mostly I believe people need it," said the sportswoman to Buzzfeed.
She further added that she never "understand blatant rudeness, especially based on assumption." "I always try to be kind and give people the benefit of the doubt first, and I hope more people will choose that as their first response," she said. She continued, "I absolutely love sharing my story and journey with the world. I hope to educate how amputees use their prosthetic legs."