‘Healthy looking’ BMW driver with debilitating car with abdominal injuries says she is regularly assaulted and her car vandalized because of where she parks: ‘People don’t think I’m disabled’
- A disabled woman’s car was checked into a shopping mall
- Stephanie Kelly Doesn’t Look ‘Disabled’
- She insults almost every time she parks
A woman suffering from severe stomach injuries has spoken out about the abuse she takes for parking in handicapped spaces – even though she has a ticket and it is legal to do so.
At first glance, Stephanie Kelly looks like a perfectly healthy 27-year-old, but five years ago she was in a horrific car accident that left her with intestinal failure.
The crash left her unable to eat, so the only way she can get nutrition is through feeding tubes.
But when Ms Kelly stopped in her BMW last year at a shopping center in south-west Sydney, she was given a nasty look and after returning to her car found it had been keyed in – with dashcam footage of the incident.
“There’s definitely a stereotype of what disability looks like,” Ms Kelly said.
“It’s so common when I get out of the car and people are looking at me and I just want to pull up my cap (to show them the tubes).
“They’re angry because I’m young, I look healthy and I have a nice car… a lot of people don’t think I’m disabled, they think I use it for convenience (disabled parking card).”
At first glance, Stephanie Kelly looks like a perfectly healthy 27-year-old blonde, but five years ago she was in a horrific car accident that left her with intestinal failure
The crash left Ms. Kelly unable to eat, so the only way she can get nutrition is through feeding tubes
The incident at her weekly shop at Woolworths was far from the first time Ms Kelly had been targeted for parking in a disabled parking space.
More recently, a group of girls in a P-plate car lashed out at them when her fiancé Adam backed into a space at McDonald’s.
One of the girls said ‘that’s a handicap spot’ assuming it belonged to the couple’s grandparents.
When Mrs. Kelly showed the girls her bright blue permit on their dashboard, the girl said, “You don’t look handicapped.”
A short time later, they found their car splattered with ice.
“We walk back to our car and the first thing Adam notices is ice on the hood and the guard,” said Ms. Kelly. 7Life.
“What they did was go through Drive Thru, come back out and throw an entire ice cream cone on our car.”
Ms Kelly (pictured at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital) has often parked in a fixed spot to avoid the ‘hate and the judgmental stares’ and fear someone might do something to her car
Ms Kelly (pictured on the runway at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week) said she thinks drivers are mad because she’s young, looks healthy and has a flashy car
Now she often parks in fixed spots to avoid the “hate and the judgmental stares” and the fear that someone might vandalize her car.
Ms. Kelly wishes people would just ask her if they are curious about her disability that has left her in chronic pain and unable to work.
“Just say, ‘Hey, you know that’s a handicapped spot?’ I will say, ‘Yeah, that’s okay, I have a disability card, I have a disability or a chronic illness,'” she said.
“I will tell you my whole life story. I’m so open.’