Family “disgusted” after abusive note left on quadriplegic son’s car

By Liz Mellino

A Shepparton family have been left "disgusted" after a rude note was placed on their quadriplegic son's car criticising his parking.

Helen Bamford said she was extremely annoyed after reading the "abusive" note which was placed on her son Marcus’ windscreen while he was parked in the Goulburn Valley Health car park on February 7.

Marcus, who has been in a wheelchair for 28 years and drives his car using specialised hand controls, was at the hospital for a specialist appointment.

As all the disabled car parks were being used, Marcus said he drove his vehicle to the very end of the car park to find a free space away from other drivers.

“I went right down to the very end to the last park, so you can park in there but leave enough room to still get your chair out,” he said.

“I probably cut across the other park bay by about a foot, probably even less than that.”

When he returned back to his car after the appointment Marcus saw the note, which had been written on the back of an envelope, propped up on his windscreen next to his clearly visible disabled sticker.

The author, who criticised his parking and referred to his vehicle as a "shit box", was nowhere to be seen.

“I wasn't really impressed, I was very angry - I said a few words,” Marcus said.

“Pretty much it made me feel like I’m insufficient because I’m interrupting the normal person's five-second job.”

The note which was left on Marcus Bamford's car.

After Marcus showed his mother the note, Helen said she took to Facebook to share her frustrations and was inundated with messages of support from the community.

By sharing an image of the note, Helen said she hoped it would bring awareness to the issues surrounding disabled car parks.

“My point is if (the person) was upset fine do something, but just say "look mate you’re taking up a little extra room",” Helen said.

“There isn't enough disability spots around . . . because Marcus can't push (his wheelchair) that far he tries to park as close as he can.”

While the Bamfords were annoyed about the incident they agreed this was not the first time they had issues with the disabled car parking in town.

Over the years they have experienced people parking in disabled spots without a permit, disabled car parks not being covered by shade cloths like other parks, and limited ramp access available to footpaths.

“Priority wheelchair parks should be more of a priority under the cover then others,” Marcus’ father Ken said.

“For Marcus if he overheats it might take him eight hours to cool down because he doesn't sweat, you don't want to go out to a car that’s red hot.

“I also see so many people drive into a disabled park without a permit . . . it just gets me.”

There are currently 132 disabled parking bays on Council land within Greater Shepparton, however this does not include disabled bays on private land and shopping centre car parks.

By sharing their story the Bamfords said they hoped it brought attention to the issues surrounding disabled permits.

“I just hope the person that wrote the note reads this and feels very shitty because I just think it's abusive - they could have wrote it very nicely,” Helen said.

“The current disabled car parks leave a lot of be desired in Shepparton . . . there should be a hell of a lot of upgrades to the disabled parks around town and some cover over them.

“And people should have respect and not park there when they shouldn’t.”