'You Shouldn't Park There:' Woman Shames Us Paralympian for Using a Handicapped Parking Spot

A US Paralympian never expected to get bullied by adults for parking where she was entitled to park. She shared a message for everyone who acts like the "handicap police" when younger people park in these reserved spots. 

In a clip that has gone viral, US Paralympian Jessica Long recently told judgemental people to think twice before judging people who park in handicapped bays. 

Her athletic build and young appearance do not mean that she does not struggle to walk with her prosthetic legs. She chronicled her experience with a woman who gave her a disgusted look for parking in a reserved parking spot.

In a viral TikTok video, a US Paralympic gold medalist details the bullying that she received because of where she parked | Photo: TikTok/jessicatatianalong

In a viral TikTok video, a US Paralympic gold medalist details the bullying that she received because of where she parked | Photo: TikTok/jessicatatianalong

BULLIED BY ADULTS 

Long, who is a  bilateral amputee, told the woman that she has a parking permit. However, the woman did not respond and drove off without apologizing. 

The 29-year-old swimmer and Paralympic gold medalist expressed that she was never bullied as a child. Sadly, her experience with this type of negativity began later in her life. The culprits of these side glances often come from the adult community. 

SHE MAKES IT LOOK EASY

Long shared her daily struggles in the TikTok video, which has been liked more than one million times. She said that even though she makes it look easy, "it's still really hard." Long added: "My legs are heavy, they hurt me. I’m in pain.”

Her message to these people who frequently judge her for using handicapped parking bays is simple. She wants them to be kind and have a little bit more compassion.

In a viral TikTok video a US Paralympic gold medalist tells viewers about the woman that bullied her because she parked in the handicap bay | Photo: TikTok/jessicatatianalong

In a viral TikTok video a US Paralympic gold medalist tells viewers about the woman that bullied her because she parked in the handicap bay | Photo: TikTok/jessicatatianalong

HER WORST EXPERIENCE 

In 2020, Long took to Instagram to tell people about the bullying and detailed her worst experience. She said that an older couple followed her around a store and made rude comments.

She explained:

"[They] kept making comments because they wanted the handicap spot I took and said that I didn’t need it. I even explained I had two prosthetic legs and they told me I was a liar.”

In a viral TikTok video a US Paralympic gold medalist shows viewers her handicap parking pass | Photo: TikTok/jessicatatianalong

In a viral TikTok video a US Paralympic gold medalist shows viewers her handicap parking pass | Photo: TikTok/jessicatatianalong

INVISIBLE DISABILITIES

Long wants her video to raise awareness about the challenges and unfair treatment that disabled people face daily. The general public does not always see what someone is dealing with under the surface of a smile or seemingly happy attitude. 

It is always better to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. As Long said: "there’s a lot of “invisible” disabilities. I shouldn’t have to justify myself to strangers every time I use my handicap pass while wearing long pants.”

A reserved handicapped parking sign hangs on a fence | Photo: Unsplash/Jennifer Uppendahl

A reserved handicapped parking sign hangs on a fence | Photo: Unsplash/Jennifer Uppendahl

A LONG JOURNEY

Long was born with fibular hemimelia, which means she did not fully develop lower legs at birth. In her lifetime, she has had more than 25 surgeries and walked a long road to recovery.

The star athlete who won her first gold medal at the tender age of 12 should get an abundance of kindness from the world. Not only because of her outstanding achievements despite her disability but simply because she deserves it. 

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