There are any number of reasons why a person may need access to a handicapped space—they don’t necessarily need to be visibly disabled. Still, given that the handicapped logo features a person in a wheelchair, it can be tempting to judge people you see walking away from their cars after parking in one of those blue spots.

That sort of judgement is exactly what Justine Van Den Borne experienced while shopping at a shopping center near her Australian home. Justine was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when she was 35, and, while she doesn’t need a wheelchair, she very much needs that parking space. So when someone left a rude note on her windshield while she was shopping, she was shocked.

Though she’s still able to walk sometimes, Justine Van Den Borne suffers from multiple sclerosis, and she needs to be able to park in handicapped spots. Unfortunately, one shopper felt it was necessary to leave her a note on her windshield. It read: “Did you forget your wheelchair???” Justine was devastated, but decided to write a response on Facebook that was truly powerful.

01-justine-van-der-borneFacebook / Justine Van Den Borne

“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.”

02-justine-van-den-borneFacebook / Justine Van Den Borne

“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.”

03-justine-van-den-borneFacebook / Justine Van Den Borne

“A disability doesn’t always mean a person has to be wheelchair-bound but lucky for you I one day will be. Right now my focus is to walk into my best friend’s wedding next September and not have to be pushed. I will be 42.”

04-justine-van-den-borneFacebook / Justine Van Den Borne

“Before you ruin another person’s 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.”

05-justine-van-den-borneFacebook / Justine Van Den Borne

This is such an important thing to remember. It’s bad to judge a book by a cover, and some disabilities aren’t as obvious when the person isn’t in a wheelchair. Way to go, Justine!

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