My father was handicapped. He was a WWII veteran, and he lost his leg in the Mediterranean toward the end of the war. He was fished out of the sea by the British, and held in a military hospital in Egypt as a prisoner of war, until he was exchanged for a British prisoner of war in Germany. By that time he had met my mother in Greece, who was stationed there in a 'Soldier's Home'. Toward the end of the war, my mother was ordered to go home, and she told some stories about leaving, being on the train, going through the Balkans, coming home to Koblenz, finding her home bombed out, and looking for her parents.
Really, they deserve better than a short paragraph in a blog.
But that wasn't my point today.
Since my father was handicapped, the one advantage he had was to park in the handicapped spaces. And he did take advantage of it. In all other ways he tried to live his life as normal as possible. He held a job until retirement age, he learned a new job when it became impossible for him to stand any longer in his old job, he was involved in athletics into his 30's, he somehow learned to drive a car (this was before automatic transmissions became common-place). In his 60's he still had the body of an athlete, my son, 6 years old at the time, brought home a friend and asked 'Opa' to pull up his sleeves and show his muscles. With a big grin, he did.
The one thing that could get him very upset, was if the handicapped parking place was thoughtlessly taken by someone NOT handicapped. And that happened often. Other than waiting for the offender, there was not much one could do - call the police, certainly, but then you still would have to wait.
So, I think of my Dad every time I see someone park in a handicapped parking space without the handicapped sign. And I wonder every time if I should do something about it. Like call the police, leave a sign on the front windshield....