A Western Cape mall has found a way to strike back at able-bodied shoppers who nab disabled parking bays.
Waterstone Village‚ in Somerset West‚ filled a row of parking bays with wheelchairs and mobility scooters‚ preventing cars using them.
Signs on the wheelchairs bore messages such as “I’m just quickly drawing money”‚ “See you in two minutes”‚ “I can park where I want to” and “It was the only open spot”.
Staff from Senecio‚ an NGO that works with disabled children‚ filmed the reactions of shoppers during the three-day campaign‚ and the video they made is now attracting thousands of YouTube viewers.
Senecio marketing manager Mieke Raubenbach said the charity was approached by Waterstone Village about its “massive problem” with illicit use of disabled parking bays. “If guards take people on about it‚ they’re incredibly rude‚” she said.
Raubenbach said one disabled couple who have been in wheelchairs for 20 years were the target of one shopper who told them the campaign was “such an inconvenience”.
“They replied that they had been inconvenienced for their entire lives‚” she said.
Waterstone Village had reported an improvement in the behaviour of able-bodied drivers since the campaign‚ said Raubenbach‚ and was keen to repeat it.
“We’d like to challenge other shopping centres to do the same. Stand up for those who can’t and make the world a better place‚” she said.
By Dave Chambers