NC woman says she was harassed for handicap parking tag

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. (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 says she’s dealing with several chronic illnesses.

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

She says 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 says 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 says 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 says the sting of judgment made her want to speak out because this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Now she says 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.


  • Jessica Matt Poff

    I understand where this young lady is coming from and I am sorry for what she is having to go through. I know we are not suppose to judge by appearance seeing that this lady may look healthy and active and we not know she has a critical condition that allows her to have a handicap sticker. However there are some people that do take advantage of the system and do use their parents or grandparents pass so they can get an up close parking spot. I think that is very wrong. I have heard certain people say that they misuse these all the time because they don’t feel like walking far. How unfair that is to someone who really does need it.

  • mary

    I agree, that is why it is important to not judge what you don’t understand. If they are using it and don’t need to be using it, then that is on them. not us. It isn’t worth making a fool of yourself calling someone on something when we don’t know for sure there is a something.

    • Cindy

      God Bless our Veterans! I have a dear friend who is a disabled Veteran and love her to death! I offer my help to her several times a week!

    • Woody

      Thanks you for your service Stephen. It is a disgrace that any veteran, especially a disabled vet, would be disrespected.

  • Woody

    I agree that outward appearance doesn’t always tell the whole story, and its a shame people would judge this girl without knowing the facts, but they hand these handicapped tags out like candy. My mother is wheelchair bound which requires a parking space with enough room for the ramp to get her in and out, which is really what handicapped spaces are for, they are supposed to be over-sized for ease of getting in and out of the vehicle as well as those requiring mobility aids. I can’t count the many times I have had to park way out in the lot away from other vehicles in order to get her in and out cause all the handicapped spaces are taken.If they are legitimate, so be it, but In my opinion, those people who are ambulatory have the ability to walk an extra 50 feet. There is nothing that entitles them to front row parking. I don’t know how many times I have seen people park in these spaces because they’re too “handicapped” to walk the extra distance to the store entrance only to see them trekking around a Super Wal-Mart once inside.

    • Alice

      MANY. MANY people (of all ages)have respiratory problems. Even walking to the door from closest spot can be traumatic for them!!

      Yes, for many you cane see the difficulty, but many are taking meds to try to keep this in control.

      When my husband (age 76) with several resp illnesses/diseases is in car, we do try to park close to entrance. I also have ,many med problems, but DO TRY to save the widest spots for those with wheelchairs.

      It is SO UNFAIR to categorize us with many other “Chests”,!!!!!!!!

  • VM

    I, too, have been targeted by people over my handicapped parking tag. I have severe arthritis in both knees and fibromyalgia. The pain is excruciating, but sometimes the pain of notes and comments made by ignorant people hurts even worse. I am overweight (I wasn’t before depression and agoraphobia caused by these illnesses took over my life), so immediately people assume I am using the tag because I am “fat.” If it was easy to get rid of the depression, anxiety, pain, and weight caused by my illnesses, don’t you think I would have done it by now? It’s never gonna be that easy. Keep your judgement in check. Just because you cannot see a person’s handicap, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Besides, why are you paying that much attention to them anyway?

  • news2me

    From this young ladies description of this POTS, I am wondering if she should be driving at all?
    Are there at least limitations on driving?

    “She says POTS causes many symptoms including dizziness, fatigue, dehydration, fainting, nausea and heart tremors.”

    I have seen people use someone else’s handicapped sign to park in the front….they jump out of the car and run into the store.

    It is because of the people that we tend to question those without a wheelchair or a cane.

  • Walt

    If you think the person using the pass talk to them don’t write a note. remember a doctor has signed a paper saying pass is necessary.Unless you have more diagnostic skills than the doctor perhaps you should assume the person has a need for the pass.

    remember all disabilities do not require the use of a cane. People with heart or lung disease also have the need for special parking

  • JC364

    I face something similar because I drive a sports car (pontiac Solstice) and use a handicap pass. I have to use a crutch to walk due to needing my hip replaced. I had the car long before the hip issue came up so I’m stuck with it. Not that I would get rid of it even if I could afford to. Still my handicap shouldn’t be judged by the type of car I drive.

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