A young woman with ‘invisible illnesses’ shared a shocking moment when a group of vigilante girls threw ice cream at her car for parking in a disabled spot.
Stephanie Kelly, from Sydney, was born with life-threatening heart conditions and a potassium-wasting disorder that left her in a wheelchair for years.
A horrific car accident in 2018 left her stomach and intestines “paralyzed”, forcing her to be fed through a tube for 16 hours a day.
So while it’s not immediately obvious to strangers that Ms. Kelly has a number of restrictions, she is entitled to and uses a disabled parking permit.
Ms. Kelly says she was “judged, attacked, abused or damaged (her) car” on several occasions for using one of the locations, including a confrontation that ended with a group of teenagers hurling a McDonald’s soft serve at her. car
“They had their P records, they were probably 18, 19, maybe 20,” Kelly, 27, explained in a recent TikTok video.
“My handicapped permission is on the dashboard. You can see it… It’s very hard not to notice.
“They got the idea in their head that this couldn’t be our pass… They frowned at us, said, ‘Wow, this is a place for the disabled,’ and then went to McDonald’s, which was nearby. where we parked.
Ms. Kelly said she thought their snide remark would end the meeting, but the girls’ behavior only intensified when she went to the pharmacy to get some medicine.
“The first thing (her fiancé) Adam noticed when we got back was ice cream all over the front hood and front guard… they went through the driveway to McDonald’s and came back and threw a whole soft serving cone into our car.” She said..
“We never asked them why they did it. I wear clothes that cover everything [her medical devices] so I understand that it looks like I’m not disabled and I parked there for convenience, but just ask me.”
Commentators shared their stories of conflicted strangers who refused to believe they had a disability.
“My friend (early 20s) with cancer parked in a disabled spot, a woman came and complained that she had parked there, my friend ripped off her wig,” wrote one of them about the terrible incident.
“I had a legal lady who stood in the middle of the bay and did not allow my husband to park. The next minute I get out of the car with a walker,” shared another.
One commenter said their husband developed an episode management strategy – “a sign on either side of his back door window, (reading) ‘yes I can park here, not all disabilities are visible’.”
Ms Kelly was the first diagnosed case of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome at the Royal Sydney Children’s Hospital, she shared on her TikTok page while documenting her illnesses.
She was unable to get up without fainting for many years, and further diagnoses of cardiac complications, including supraventricular tachycardia and atrial fibrillation in early childhood, meant that she often required a defibrillator.
Ms Kelly was studying to be a registered nurse in 2018 when another driver crashed into the passenger side of the car she was in with her fiancé.
The resulting injuries have “paralyzed” her stomach and intestines, meaning they struggle to properly absorb nutrients.
Originally published as A woman spoke about a violent collision over a parking space for the disabled