Woman targeted, harassed over handicap tag

Handicapped Plate

ASHVILLE, NC  (WHNS) – A western North Carolina woman is speaking out after she said she’s been unfairly targeted for harassment due to a handicap.

Asheville college student Jenn Kerr said the reason she was singled out has nothing to do with a disability and everything to do with her age. 

Kerr is a young student whose outward appearances might suggest she is healthy and active, but she said she’s dealing with several chronic illnesses. 

Kerr said two of the illnesses affect her quality of life on a daily basis. She said she suffers from POTS, or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, which is a malfunction of the autonomic nervous system affecting the entire body. She said POTS causes many symptoms including dizziness, fatigue, dehydration, fainting, nausea and heart tremors. 

She said she also has EDS, or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, that causes loose joints and fragile skin. 

“My joints will sublet or dislocate. In other words, I’ll be walking somewhere, and my hip will pop out of the socket, and I’ll have to just pop it back in and keep walking,” said Kerr.

To function with her illnesses, Kerr said a doctor suggested registering for a handicap card on her vehicle, to use on days she’s not feeling well.

“The parking pass is for if I’m having to go far distances, or not having a good day and my hips are popping out, it’s painful,” said Kerr. 

But Kerr said her condition got a little tougher to deal with when she found notes on her car Friday night.

“They were pretty nasty, saying that I was ugly and I shouldn’t be parking there, that I was using my grandmother’s pass,” she said.

She said the sting of judgment made her want to speak out because this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Now she said it’s time to spread a message.

“It’s not like I want people to know I’m struggling inside, but it’d be nice to have compassion for others and understanding,” said Kerr.

27 comments

  • athynz

    Leaving anonymous notes like that is akin to the internet trolls who hide under relatively anonymous screen names like “David” and spew their venom. They have no understanding of the situation but feel compelled to leave their opinion. Unless one is a doctor with knowledge of her medical condition people need to leave her alone. Just because she looks able bodied does not mean she actually is.

    • David

      Poor Pete. You feel compelled to give your uneducated opinion on all matters. If your statements are not self evident then they are Neanderthal. You are pathetic, deluded, and childish. Good luck to you in the world you think you understand so well.

      • athynz

        David the offer to meet in person so you can say all of this to my face still stands. IF you were any sort of man you’d have taken me up on it already. I find it amusing that you can never ever comment on the actual article but take some sort of strange delight in trolling your betters. Now sit down, shut your piehole, and let the adults speak of matters that remain above your level of intelligence.

      • David

        Pete, poor, poor pudgy deluded ignorant pathetic Pete. Get a life, don’t try to lose one.

      • athynz

        All you can do is hurl insults just like cowardly troll you are. You lack the intelligence to comment on the topic, you lack the cajones to make these same comments to my face, and you lack any sort of common sense, common courtesy, or anything that would make you a worthwhile human being.

        Prove me wrong David – if you can.

  • buzz

    Sad sick world when people are so quick to judge others on just appearance alone anymore without actualy know what that persons medical condition is. I have actualy confronted a person who has parked in a handicapped spot with no tags just to go into a store to pick up something and has blocked a gentleman and his wife from loading his wifes scooter into the van they use for her. I myself have a handicap tag and only use it when I have bad days and prefer to walk when I can. Its so sad that people have become so ignorant in society anymore

  • Janet Martin

    MY NIECE WAS HARRASSED LIKE THIS TOO, UNTIL SHE GOT OUT OF HER VECHILE. SHE WAS BORN WITH SPINA BIFIDA. SHE DRIVES WITH HAND CONTROLS. PEOPLE ARE SO JUDGEMENTAL SOMETIMES. JUST NOT RIGHT. NO ONE KNOWS HOW OTHERS ARE FEELING OR HOW THEIR HEALTH IS…

  • Mary Blalock

    My son has EDS also and we know exactly what she is going through! One of my goals is to educate people about EDS. As one source said “Elhers Danlos Sydrome is not rare, it is rarely diagnosed.”

  • sandy

    I’m also disabled. I have a plate on my car and husband truck. People look at me like what are you doing in this spot. Well I’ve had five back surgeries and now nervet damage. I have a problem walking some days but I don’t use it all the time. I never judge because you don’t know what’s wrong with that person. I’m so sorry that we live in a world where people have to be so curl and mean. It has gotten so much worse now then ever. Why can’t we all mind our own business and get along with one another.

    • Mary Jo Wallace

      I specifically asked a DMV employee and was told even the ones marked for vans are for EVERY one who has the placard. I too am judged because my handicap is not visible to the ignorant judgmental eyes. My Doctors and Social Security both see the disability, so for the few ignorants who said anything they get told I do no have to prove anything to anyone other than a police officer. By the way I have all of the proper paperwork to prove everything, So if you want to police those spots I will gladly show the police my ids, the rest can kiss my lily white butt.

  • mmonicahelton@charter/net

    it make you really think age is just a fact and realize all people have problems not just the old

  • sw

    I can only sympathize how this woman must feel but I do understand people getting frustrated with the people who do abuse the handicapped tags. I think it is wrong what these people did to her and to judge someone without knowing and I feel bad for this woman. I have however witness several cases of people who I know are not handicapped using the temporary tags when it is convienient for them and taking them down as soon as they drive away. If you are handicapped then why would you take down the tag as soon as you back out of a handicapped spot. I think DMV could solve this problem by not letting people actually renew these things online for ones they have obtained for a surgery and would have expired without having to show proof that you still require the tag. My mother has handicapped plates (she no longer drives) on her car that my daughter uses to take her to her appointments. She had severe back problems and multiple surgeries. Once she got the tags though there was no more proof required to keep them (she now has alzhiemer’s so she does require them). Almost anyone can get a doctor to give them approval for a handicapped tag. I have known women who while pregnant (not a problem pregnancy) saying their doctors said they could get one. When I was pregnant my doctor wanted me to walk and take stairs rather than the elevator. I don’t get how lazy American’s have become.

    • Wanda

      The placards on the mirtows has to be taken down, it is against the law to drive with them on the mirror. I look perfectly healthy. I have a placard, I have Lupus, RA, back back, have had back and neck surgery. I have 2 herniated disc right now in my lower back again! So, no one should judge others.

    • Wanda

      The placards on the mirrows has to be taken down, it is against the law to drive with them on the mirror. I look perfectly healthy. I have a placard, I have Lupus, RA, back back, have had back and neck surgery. I have 2 herniated disc right now in my lower back again! So, no one should judge others.

    • Elsa

      You are not supposed to drive with the tags hanging from your rearview mirror as it obstructs the driver’s view. It says so clearly on the tags. That is why I take my off as soon as I back out of the parking spot.

  • Kris Joynes Chapin

    Not to mention it’s not our place to judge others. I know it’s temping when you see a seemingly healthy young person park in a handicapped spot but we don’t know what anyone is going through in their lives. I’m glad this was brought up!

  • ajmacdonaldjr

    I sympathize with her but I believe the handicap parking spots are reserved only for people using wheelchairs. The parking spots are designed with the extra room needed for wheelchairs. People who are disabled and need a close parking spot should look for the closest regular spot. If you think about it, what is a person using a wheelchair supposed to do if their spots are taken by people who don’t use wheelchairs, even thought they have a tag with a wheelchair logo on it?

    • athynz

      To play devil’s advocate what are the ones who are handicapped but do not use wheelchairs supposed to do when all of the handicapped spots are taken? There are reasons why the placards are given – I knew a gentleman who outwardly looked very healthy for a 70 year old man and usually could walk unaided however due to his bout with lung cancer he had drastically reduced capacity and was simply unable to walk much further than from the handicapped spots to the store.

  • Mary Montefusco Zoeller

    @ajmacdonaldjr
    No,handicapped parking spaces are not just reserved for people using wheelchairs,you are misinformed. The spaces are larger for those who MAY need a wheelchair. The wheelchair logo is a standard Symbol for ALL mobility challenged persons who are deemed in need for this accommodation. Many of us use canes,rolling walkers , crutches,or no walking aid based on doctor order.

  • Paula Rich

    Ajmcdonaldjr- anyone with a handicap pass can park in a handicapped spot. If you would notice one of the signs, they say wheelchair accessable- not for wheelchairs only. Just saying

  • Terry

    Not to be “thay guy” but I kind of understand where they are coming from too. I knew someone who had one for her son but would use it even though he wasn’t with her. She had it rightfully taken away acouple of times for this and I’m pretty sure wasn’t allowed to reapply as I understand it. That being said, it doesn’t give anyone the right to do such things as this even if they are abusing the system. Had I not known about her son would have thoughtshe was just someone who needed it when really she didn’t. Sometimes it’s okay to be judgemental, but with an open mind.

  • Ken Cissel

    I used to work as a security guard and would frequently see people parking in handicapped spaces who had no outward appearance of being handicapped. Usually it would be teens and I would ask which of them had the handicap and the answer would normally be that the pass belonged to their mom, aunt, grandma or someone else which prompted me to ask them if they really wanted to risk that person losing the pass since they were too lazy to walk a little. If they responded that they were the handicapped person I would ask if they needed any assistance. The abusers nearly always moved their cars and the people needing the spot seemed to appreciate the offer of help.

  • Deborah Fochler

    I’m not young. In my 60s and literally had a man attack me one day at a grocery store because he thought I didnt look handicapped. He kept pushing me by the arm toward my car telling me to get the F** out of the handicap space. Was really scary.

  • Rich melan

    I think it’s ridiculous that the police intervened. Don’t they have more important things to do? I have the same situation with my knee and hip!

  • M. Hall

    I live in Richmond, VA and I have also had an older man in my neighborhood aggressively approach me and accuse me of having a handicap parking space in front of my home when I was not handicapped and told two police officers that I should not have it. I felt that I needed to explain so I told the officers that I had physical handicaps and that my physician had given me the paperwork so that I could file for handicap parking, license plates and a placard. I have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, degenerative joint disease and at times have to rely on a cane to walk. I experience pain every day and rarely have a full night’s sleep without having to walk as best I can to relieve the pain. None of this would be visible to strangers. I have also survived cancer twice and am on medication for other health concerns. This man made it his mission to confront me and I reported him to the state agency that governs mistreatment of people who are handicapped/disabled. I also contacted his landlord to let him know what had occurred. The man has left me alone since I decided I was not going to tolerate anyone disrespecting me nor was my personal health any of his business.

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