In the summer of 2018 I made a simple decision that has impacted my life even years (a year and a half to be exact) later. I decided to go to Panera bread to pick up soup for lunch because my stomach was not feeling very well, even though I already had lunch in the refrigerator that I brought from home. You see I almost never go out for lunch because I’m cheap, but sometimes I will go out if my coworkers want me to join them for lunch.
On this particularly blistering hot day, it was about 90° and I swear to God a hundred percent humidity outside. At that time the office I worked in had a shopping center directly behind it – you could walk to it and I had done this before. However, given the heat and my stomach ache I decided to drive my car. As I was making my way through the parking lot I came upon a line of stopped cars due to a stop sign at the end of the row. So I stopped and not three seconds later and before my mind could even really register what was happening, there was a movement to my right. A car had backed right into the middle of the passenger side of my car. Seriously. I quickly put my car in park and started to get out just as the driver of the other car, a Middle Eastern man, and his wife, a Middle Eastern woman, were getting out of their car to inspect the damage. The man immediately began to apologize and state that he didn’t see my car behind him. Really. You didn’t see a red SUV that is longer than the width of your car behind you?
I told the man I had to stop because there were a line of cars stopped, but were he and his wife okay? He continued to apologize until I walked around the front of my car to join them on the passenger side and he saw the way I walk – with a pronounced irregular gate. Obviously I have a disability. At this exact moment he stopped apologizing and somehow tried to turn the story as if it were my fault. And his lovely wife took out a handkerchief and tried to wipe away some of the damage from my car. What the fuck? Without touching her hand I gently put myself between her and my car and said “no no, please don’t touch.” Why I am always saying this sentence to adult females is a wonder to me. Isn’t this what all mothers teach their children? Don’t touch shit that doesn’t belong to you.
There was another man at the scene who was parked right beside the guy that hit me. I made eye contact and simply stated oh I’m blocking you in, let me back up to let you out. He followed me around to the driver side of my car and handed me his business card. He told me to use him as a witness since he had in fact seen the entire event. I thanked him graciously and backed my car up just a few feet. The police were called and while we were waiting for their arrival, the driver took every chance he could to tell passer byers that this accident was not his fault. Dude – it’s the middle of a workday and it’s fucking 90° outside. No one gives a shit about our little accident and your so-called “innocence.” To summarize, this dude was turning out to be a real douche.
In the meantime, one of my coworkers happened to walk by on her way back to her car from picking up her lunch. I called her over because I knew I needed help. First off, I have a hard time writing when I am not sitting down with a flat, even surface in front of me. Second, this guy was being a jerk. Third, I needed help with taking pictures of the damage because I don’t always take the best pictures due to my shaky hands. My coworker immediately came to my aid, bless her heart, and she apparently also texted our HR director who came rushing over from the office. My old HR director and I had become very close friends during our time at my previous company and we are still close now. I am so thankful for these two women. They are both African-American and have always told me to stand up for myself and not take shit from anyone. I am still learning to do this.
However, before my HR director (Vicki) got there the police had arrived. He was a young, probably 30 to 40-year-old, white man. The driver that hit me immediately began speaking and saying how this accident was my fault. When I tried to interject as to how the hell that could be possible, the cop cut me off and told me to let the man speak. Once the man spoke and told his side the cop did not give me a chance to tell my side. Are we fucking serious right now? I am being disrespected and degraded by two different men in the manner of 20 minutes. The cop told me to move my car and gave the both of us paperwork to fill out. He did not give the guy a ticket because apparently the county we live in doesn’t issue tickets for accidents that occur in parking lots. The other driver should’ve gotten a ticket just for being a dick.
By the time Vicki got there I was so upset and effing hot and sweaty. What a terrific day for an accident. But we had taken pictures of my car, their car, and my coworker was in the process of helping me fill out the paperwork while I relayed to Vicki everything that had just happened and how they were putting the blame on me and not even listening to my side. I admire Vicki so much and not just because she stands up for me but because she is one of the strongest women I know and I strive to have her strength. She went up to the other driver and told him that it was impossible for this accident to be my fault given where the damages were on both cars and how dare he speak to me the way he did. Then she walked back up to me, gave me a much-needed hug and asked me what I needed. Vicki ended up going to pick up my soup for me while I headed back to the office.
I called the man’s insurance right after I had eaten lunch and lo and behold that dude had already called his insurance and reported the accident as my fault – according to the Geico agent. I kindly asked the Geico agent to please explain how the accident was my fault when the damage was literally in the middle of the passenger side of my car. To be specific, my two passenger doors were dented in (pictures below). What – did my car roll sideways on the dry pavement into the dude’s bumper? I told the agent I didn’t realize cars could move sideways. She asked me if I had pictures and I swiftly told her I had several and I would send them to her immediately. I also informed her I had an eye witness that saw the whole thing and gave her his information.
Needless to say Geico paid for the damages. Not four days after I got my car back from the body shop, I was rear ended. I am not kidding and this ridiculous but somewhat funny story will be shared in an upcoming blog.
The reason I included the races/ethnicities of the men in this story is to provide a cultural background behind each person and how their culture tends to see persons with disabilities and females. The driver thought he could take advantage of me because I have a disability and so he assumed that even though I can drive a car I have no intelligence…? And that cop. Are you kidding me? Police are supposed to stand up for the weak and helpless. I am not necessarily claiming to be those things but in this situation I was the victim but was treated like I was the culprit. He didn’t even give me a chance to say my side – why not? Because I couldn’t possibly have the capability to speak up for myself? Fuck. You. Both.
It doesn’t matter who we are up against in the able-bodied community. It doesn’t matter the race, the religion, the gender, the sex, etc. – all that abled-bodied people tend to see is a person with disabilities and thus we are almost always treated as if we are less than a whole person when we are compared against an able-bodied individual. These two men treated me like I was less than human. Jokes on you, fuckers. I am more than the both of you will ever be. I am more kind. I am more intelligent. I am more understanding. I am more empathetic. I am more determined. I have more perseverance in my little shaky hands then you will likely ever have in your entire body. I am more loving. And I know all this because I try my best to not judge people based solely on their physical appearance before they’ve had the chance to open their mouth and show their capabilities. Your ignorance is unbecoming and you both are cock suckers.
One of the main lessons I learned that day of the accident? I will not be going out to get soup on my lunch break again. 😉
Until next time.
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