A note was left on a woman's car calling her "lazy" for parking in a mobility parking space - despite her displaying a permit.
The woman was parked outside The Warehouse, Tauranga, on Saturday afternoon and spoke with shop assistants after receiving the note, employee Reuben Simpson said. "She said she found the note and asked if we had seen anyone leave it on her car. I said 'no, sorry', and she showed us the note."
It said: "We watched you to Fools Walk into the Shop you Should Be ashamed of your selfs using the Disability card. They are for People who Have genuine Problems with mobility not the lazy! (sic)".
"It was a very unfortunate and a sad note for that poor lady to receive. She was obviously a little bit upset and was explaining to us what was wrong with her leg and why she had that pass in the first place. She told us how she did in fact have bad pain in her leg which she had to take pills for every day," Mr Simpson said.
He believed the woman was in her 50s and said she had no obvious impairments.
"They basically looked at her and thought she doesn't seem to be disabled in the broad sense of the word and thought they needed to tell her that.
"People shouldn't judge. If someone has the pass and it doesn't look obvious, well, people don't always have obvious disabilities.
"There's a Facebook page called 'You've got my Car Park, want my Disability too' that I posted the photo to, they've talked in the past about invisible disabilities."
David Matthews, chief executive of CCS Disability Action, said someone had obviously misunderstood the criteria to be able to access a mobility pass.
There are 3511 people in Tauranga with mobility parking permits, which are managed by CCS Disability Action.
"Because they don't have a physical impairment, people misunderstand why they have a permit which is unfortunate," Mr Matthews said.
"The other issue is the people who feel they have the right to act in some vigilante way around the use of these cards.
"We know these cards are abused at times and that's clear but we want people to be careful about jumping to conclusions about who has these cards."
Mr Matthews said the cards were not just for people in wheelchairs or who needed some sort of aid.
He said similar situations where members of the public had confronted mobility permit holders about their apparent lack of disability had been made known to CCS Disability Action in the past.
"All we're asking is for people to exercise some sort of discretion about even approaching people about misuse of cards."
Tauranga City Council team leader of bylaws and parking Stuart Goodman said about three parking tickets a week were issued to people parking in a mobility space without a permit.
Disability parking permits
*You are eligible for a permit if you meet the following criteria:
*You are unable to walk and always require the use of a wheelchair, or
*Your ability to walk distances is severely restricted by a medical condition or disability. If, for example, you require the use of mobility aids, experience severe pain, or breathlessness, or
*You have a medical condition or disability that requires you to have physical contact or close supervision to safely get around and cannot be left unattended. For example, if you experience disorientation, confusion, or severe anxiety.
- CCS Disability Action