On a recent late fall trip to Wisconsin, my wife and I had grand plans to go out to dinner to a nice restaurant near the Madison state capitol. As we were circling the capitol—parking is notoriously challenging near the statehouse—a handicapped parking space opened up just steps away from the restaurant’s front door (and a scarce few minutes away from our reservation time). What a perfect start to what was surely going to be a memorable evening.
That is, until the car in front of us suddenly veered over into the precious spot. And a college-aged driver bounded out of the car with nothing hung on his rearview mirror. Really? It all happened so fast I didn’t even realize that I had rolled down my window to holler at the guy.
“Yo, pal, you gotta permit?” I yelled out of the car window into the frosty night, clearly interrupting his Chariots of Fire reenactment. He stopped mid sprint, already 20 yards from his vehicle.
“Uh, no, but I was only running in for a just sec…” His voice trailed off as if waiting for approval. Waiting for me to say, “No problem dude, we’ll idle next to your car for 10 minutes and keep an eye out for any cops. If it looks like you are going to get busted, I’ll throw my placard on your windshield and mingle around your car until you return. Take your time!”
And then my brain said something else. “I would love to run anywhere for ‘just a second.’ Think about that. You don’t ever want my disease. You don’t ever want to need that handicapped placard. You don’t ever want to be the guy who misses an important appointment (or a fun date) because a total inconsiderate lazy bastard like you took the parking spot he needed. Karma is a bitch, my friend. Move your vehicle or I’ll get it moved for you. Trust me—don’t make my gimpy ass get out of my car to beat you silly with my forearm crutches.”
Fortunately my vocal cords didn’t listen to my brain. They just said, “Sorry.” I shrugged my shoulders and held up my blue placard. He moved. We parked. And my wife and I had a magical evening, complete with the best mac-n-cheese imaginable … without me even having to open up a big ole can of whup-ass.