Kaisha Elphick, who you may know as co-owner of Southern Pines Escape, had her foot amputated when she was only 18 months old. That means she has a lot of experience living in a world that’s not always inclusive of disabilities. After an unfortunate incident over a handicap accessible parking space — “I can laugh about it now, I just don’t like assholes,” — she realized not everyone was as cool as she is and decided to help us create this handy-dandy list.
The Top Five Things Not To Say To Someone With A Disability
- “You Don’t Look Disabled.” Um, thanks? You don’t look stupid, but apparently, we were wrong. Not all disabilities are visible, which brings us to our next point.
- “Prove It.” If someone pulls into a handicap accessible parking spot without a handicap license plate or placard, it’s okay to ask them if they are aware of where they parked. It is not okay to ask for proof of their disability. It is NEVER okay to ask someone for proof of their disability or to question if they need access to handicap parking.
- “I’ll only be parked here for a second.” Handicap parking, hallowed be thy name. Treat the handicap accessible parking spot with respect. It is not a loading and unloading zone, a five-minute parking spot while you quickly run into the store, or a convenient way to drop off your child.
- “What’s wrong with you?” Well, currently we’re talking to you so that’s at the top of our list. If you have a question about a medical disability, it’s better to ask the person directly rather than talk behind their back. But come on man, use some tact. You wouldn’t want your Tinder match to ask for your full medical history the first time you meet, would you? Be cool.
- “You’re an inspiration.” Actually, we’re a Libra. Oprah is an inspiration. If you’re telling someone they’re an inspiration just because they have a disability that’s pretty lame. But if you’d like to tell someone they were an inspiration for oh, let’s say, being a first-time entrepreneur and opening a successful business in downtown Southern Pines. Yeah, we’d be cool with that.