Daily Archives: October 7, 2010

Hearts – and Carts – in the Right Place

My good deed for Tuesday happened at our local Home Depot. While we stopped in for electrical tape and light bulbs, I took a few minutes to impersonate a cart attendant – you know, that guy in the parking lot who wears the bright orange vest and gathers up all the empty shopping carts. Except I wasn’t retrieving them from all over the lot, but rather I was focused on clearing one area in particular: the disability parking spaces.

It’s not the first time I’ve done this. Shoppers often leave their carts in wheelchair parking spots. And I can understand the appeal of that. You’ve got your arms full of packages, you’re looking around for a convenient way to ditch your trolley, and there’s this beautiful, wide, spacious, open square of pavement looking so pristine and ready to be your friend.

Probably you notice the painted wheelchair symbol that designates the space as reserved for people with disabilities. But you’re only going to use up a corner, aren’t you? What difference could that possibly make? Anyway, no one’s using the parking right now, are they? So you roll your cart into the handy space. And then of course when the next shopper comes along looking for cart storage, they spot that first encouraging trolley hanging out in the wheelchair parking area. So they leave another.

Thus by the time an actual driver with a disability comes along, he can’t use the parking space. (But wait, can’t he just move the carts out himself? Oh… yeah. He has a disability.)

I’ve mentioned before that my own husband has disabilities. He’s one of those drivers who needs to park where he’s close to the store entrance and where the space is wide enough to let down the wheelchair ramp out of the side of his van. So of course when it comes to this topic I’m touchy, and this friendly blog post is bordering on lecturey. Whoops. Of course, I didn’t mean to implicate any of you as the transgressors. This is a blog of good-deed ideas, not wrist slapping.

So the good-deed idea for today is: Why not make the environment a little more welcoming for our friends, co-workers and neighbours who have disabilities? It often doesn’t take much.

In fact I was chatting with a friend with MS the other day, and she said that when people hold the door for her, she always makes a point of telling them: “You’ve just done your good deed for the day!” I like this. It reminds people that they’ve been a help and deserve to feel great about it.

Over the decades, my husband has been the recipient of many a kindness from strangers. (Some of his stories would floor you, as he seemed to get himself into quite a few pickles!) I hope that those good-deed doers always walked away knowing that they’d made a real difference.

Even if all they did was roll a shopping cart or two out of a parking spot.