Do-gooders think this man doesn't look disabled enough
HE DOESN'T look "disabled enough" to park in disabled spaces and busybodies are making his life hell.
Townsville man Taukiri Roberts regularly faces abuse and dirty looks for parking in disabled parking spaces.
Mr Roberts has multiple sclerosis, a condition of the central nervous system for which there is no cure.
The debilitating condition interferes with nerve impulses within the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves and can lead to involuntary movements and paralysis.
Mr Roberts said he was upset by the abuse and wished people would stop saying terrible things to him.
"I usually think of happy thoughts to get over it," he said. "I wish people would stop giving me dirty looks and mind their own business."
Mr Roberts's wife Tima said that, despite his outside appearance, he was not healthy and needed a disability parking permit.
She said people with disabilities had enough problems to deal with without being targeted for abuse from strangers at shopping centres.
"My husband and family had gone through enough problems. He has MS and that's for life," she said.
"He has to display his handicap sticker on our car and it is there for a reason."
The couple's experience is all too common.
Mrs Roberts said they went to a local bank on Tuesday and were approached by an elderly man when they parked their car.
"He walked right up to our car window to check our sticker, gave us a dirty look and walked off," she said.
"Later we went to Coles to get our dinner and an elderly lady said 'you don't even look disabled' to my husband. We couldn't be bothered explaining the situation to her.
"My husband was diagnosed with MS five years ago and this happens all the time."
Mrs Roberts said it was important for people not to be judgmental of others without knowing the facts.
"Please don't judge a book by its cover," she said.
"It's very annoying getting the dirty look by the elderly when they are supposed to be role models for the young generation."
Queensland residents are eligible for Australian disability permits if they are unable to walk and always require the use of a wheelchair.
Permits are also issued to people whose ability to walk is severely restricted by a permanent or temporary medical condition.
Red permits, which are used by existing permit holders, are no longer being issued by the State Government.