Not all heroes wear capes. Some prefer gardening gloves.
Maybe I should start at the beginning… my mum has some mobility issues, so she’s been given a Blue Badge. This week she came to visit, and we went to pick up my son from school.
There’s one disabled parking space outside the gates and someone was already in it, but he was in the car with the engine running. I tried to get his attention to ask if he was leaving, but I couldn’t, so I walked over.
The window was down, I asked if he was going. He said he wasn’t.
You have to display your Blue Badge on the dashboard, and he hadn’t, so I said, “Oh, you know this is a disabled space?”
“Yeah,” he replied, disinterested.
I asked if he had a Blue Badge.
“No. Do you?” he snapped.
“My mum does, actually. We’d like to use this space please,” I said.
“I’m waiting,” he replied.
We then repeated the last two sentences, and again, and each time I asked to use the space I became more baffled because I felt like I was being really clear, but for some reason he wasn’t understanding me.
And then the penny dropped.
He was understanding me.
He was just a completely terrible person.
I gave it one last go, recapping the situation – he was illegally parked in a disabled space that a disabled person needed to use, please.
“Get a life,” he spat.
I didn’t even shout at him. I was too stunned to be angry.
Instead I took a photo of his car parked in the space, because there were no traffic wardens around but maybe I could report him later or something.
Now there was anger. From him, towards me.
We both walked into the school – because obviously his kids go there too so I’ll now see him every single day, for years – and he started yelling.
“What you’ve just done is illegal,” he screamed. The irony of this sentence almost caused me to spontaneously combust.
I saw him again – of course – as we came out of school.
He was telling his children what had happened, gesturing towards me and my mum. They were all laughing. The incident stayed with me for days. Maybe I’m naive, but before this I genuinely believed most people were good, decent, kind. It changed the way I viewed society, made me suspicious of everyone.
Everything felt very dark, and mean.
And then almost a week later, I walked through a communal square.
A man I recognised from the local pet shop was on his knees, planting bulbs. I was confused –had he left the shop, started working for the council?
No, he told me – a bit embarrassed – he does this every year, off his own back, because when the flowers bloom they cheer the place up, brighten people’s days.
And just like that, I felt better.
Mr Horrible had such an impact because he is the exception. We mustn’t lose sight of that. There are more flower planters than b******s in the world.
I’ve mailed the photos of the car to the authorities, hoping he’ll get a retrospective ticket.
I’m yet to hear back, and not exactly hopeful… I reckon I’ve already used up my Christmas miracle this year.
Doesn’t really matter though. I’d rather have daffodils anyway.
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