Bailey Mcdonald holds a nasty note left on her mother’s windsheild. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

Nasty note on B.C. windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

  • Nov. 17, 2017 3:30 p.m.

What would you do if your mother found a hateful note on her windshield?

On Oct. 29 one Vernon woman found out.

Bailey McDonald is still reeling after seeing a “disturbing” note her mother, Medea Gunnip, found on the windshield of her car while it was in an accessible parking spot outside the Walmart Vernon Supercentre on Oct.29.

“Your (sic) not disabled!” the note read. “Your (sic) just an obese lazy cow abusing handicap parking, because your (sic) to (sic) lazy to walk, thats (sic) why your (sic) fat.”

“Those words were hurtful, and they are powerful words…tragically misspelled, but powerful,” said the 25-year-old Okanagan College student.

But it is those words that Mcdonald, who plans to attend law school one day, hoped would spark a “much needed” conversation about compassion, stigma and “invisible” illness.

“I think this person who wrote the note was, in their own misguided way, advocating for people with disabilities. They looked at her, didn’t see that she has an accessible parking permit and felt it was morally right then to go in and correct this.”

Hurt and outraged, McDonald posted a photo of the note on a popular Facebook page, along with a heartfelt post defending her mother, and urging others to “take a closer look” before passing judgment on an individual.

Disclaimer: the note was written on Lordco stationary, which is easily obtained by anyone.It is not a reflection of the company itself, or the values of the employees who work there.

“You do not know that my mother is not an anomaly,” McDonald wrote on the Vernon Rant and Rave group on Nov. 14.

“She can walk without an aid, but not far and not for long. You do not have breakfast with her, which she eats on the floor at the coffee table, because it causes her agony to sit. You do not accompany her to the pool, where the water allows her a generous buoyancy so that she may exercise. You have not sat with her while she cries after countless doctor appointments, trying to calm herself and remain strong while she copes with the notion that she may never get better….I urge you to be more considerate of this going forward. Education is the first step to eradicating ignorance. I hope that you read this, and know, that my mother, as kind as she is, forgives you.”

Though it’s difficult to tell at first glance, McDonald says Gunnip suffers from chronic pain.

The 43-year-old mother of two lives with fibromyalgia, a syndrome often characterized by persistent muscle and joint pain, sleep problems and exhaustion. That pain was compounded after she sustained a back injury in a car accident in 2014.

The condition leads to a variety of problems, including numbness, fatigue and trouble walking, standing and sitting.

“At this point in my life, I can’t hike, I can’t do a lot of things I like to do. Whether I walk or stand or sit, everything hurts. But I know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I am working with some really good health-care professionals that are trying to figure out how to fix this. In the meantime, I try to push through the pain,” she explained.

When she found the note on her windshield, Gunnip admits she was taken aback, but ultimately, her feelings are “not hurt.”

“I kind of laughed it off,” Gunnip said of her discovery in October, before making light of the author’s poor grammar.

Her actions, on the other hand, tell a different story.

As her fingers twitched furiously, an indication of her physical discomfort from sitting too long, Gunnip revealed that, though she continues to display the parking pass – she has stopped using it, even though the use of it would make her life a little bit easier.

“I count my blessings where they’re hatched,” she said.

“Things for me could be a lot worse, and really, this thing could have been much worse. If I was the only one being shamed, that’s fine. I’m glad this happened to me and not someone else. If someone found a note like this and they were in a bad place, it could have knocked them over. It could have really hurt someone.”

When she showed the note to her daughter a week after discovering it, she jokingly referred to it as a “love note.”

“For a second, I was kind of excited — then I read it,” recalled McDonald.

“I really had to think it over before I posted that photo. If we were out and someone had shouted those words at us, I’m not sure I would have thought as much before I reacted. I mean, it’s my mom we’re talking about here,” she said.

McDonald said she deliberately chose her words after realizing the post could be shared to shed light on a pervasive lack of understanding around the definition of illness.

“What happened that day was my mom was robbed of her own narrative and I wanted to tell the person who left that note all the reasons they were wrong. But, I realized the only thing preventing this person being an ally, and …. something else’s, is education.”

Touched by the young woman’s well-worded Facebook plea, more than 200 have commented on McDonald’s post since it appeared on Rant and Rave Tuesday night.

Nearly all of the comments are positive and Mcdonald said many have since shared their own stories with her.

The pair said they are “humbled and overwhelmed” by the outpouring of support from the resulting conversation.

“The best part of this, and the saddest part of this, is that everybody shared — but that means everyone has a story like this. I just want people to be kind — be compassionate.”

Erin Christie

Morning Star Staff


@VernonNews
erin.christie@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

BC Green Party announces candidate for Abbotsford South

Former provincial and municipal candidate Aird Flavelle seeks election

Abbotsford’s Haidyn Vermeulen signs with Alberta Golden Bears

Grade 12 Abby Senior student joining Edmonton-based football program in 2021

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

Permanent fish-passage solutions considered at Big Bar landslide

151,000 salmon detected this year north of site

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Sept. 27

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

Another death as COVID-19 outbreak at Delta Hospital climbs to 18 cases

Total of 12 patients and six staff in one unit have tested positive for COVID-19: Fraser Health

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Most Read