‘Verbal assault’ over handicapped parking spot

Abbotsford woman wants others to be more familiar with rules about parking permits.

An Abbotsford woman who uses a wheelchair says she was verbally assaulted when she pulled into a handicapped parking spot but hadn’t yet displayed her parking permit.

Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said the woman now wants people to be more aware of the rules around the permits.

The incident occurred last Friday at about 6 p.m. at the Sumas Village shopping complex at the corner of South Fraser Way and Sumas Way.

MacDonald said the driver had pulled into the parking spot and was reaching into the glove compartment for her parking permit to hang on the rearview mirror, when a male driver parked behind her.

He said the man began screaming, swearing and gesturing at the woman, accusing her of falsely using the parking spot. The woman’s passenger then got out of the vehicle and the two exchanged words before the man drove away.

MacDonald said the driver appreciates that the man was looking out for other people, but he should understand that people with disabilities do not have to display their permit at all times – only when parked.

He said most people do not display their permit while driving because it obstructs their view; they usually keep it in their glove box or carry it in their purse.

The woman reported the incident to police in hopes of the message being passed along, MacDonald said.

“She was completely flabbergasted … She certainly felt verbally abused by this man.”