It can be easy to judge someone quickly when you’re passionate about a subject—even when sometimes, digging a little deeper into the situation would ease most of the alarm.
University of Kentucky student Lexi Baskin figured that out all too quickly one day on campus, when she parked her car in a handicapped space on her way into class.
Upon returning to her vehicle after class, Baskin was confronted with a slew of angry notes covering her car from front to back. They accused her of taking advantage of the system, either borrowing or stealing a handicapped pass for her car and using it to take a space that someone visibly handicapped could have been using.
“Shame on you”, a slew of the posters (which were solidly taped to her windows) read, while others featured a handicapped symbol with the words “not really, just lazy” emblazoned around the image.
“There are legit handicapped people,” a longer poster read. “We’ve seen you and your friend come and go.”
“There is nothing handicapped about either of you.”
The poster promised that action would be taken to have Baskin’s car towed, or she herself slapped with a fine.
Of course, the angry protesters didn’t know the whole story.
Baskin, who takes sports photos at her school and is set to graduate in 2021, is currently undergoing radiation treatment for cancer—so, as she pointed out on social media, she very much needs the handicapped pass she has been given in order to combat exhaustion and fatigue as she makes her way to class during an incredibly trying time in her life.
She used the opportunity to call attention to the situation, hoping that someone would read her posts—which she put on both her Facebook account and her Twitter—and learn how to use some empathy for someone without knowing their entire story.
She wrote it as a reminder that just because someone couldn’t see her physical disability didn’t mean that it wasn’t very much there; as she undergoes cancer treatment, she’ll need the pass to help her preserve energy for learning rather than hiking across campus to get to her classes from a farther parking spot.
“I am not asking for sympathy,” she added. She just wants to see people be kinder to one another rather than judgmental in situations they don’t know or understand.
“I hope that the darkness in their heart is replaced with unconditional love and happiness.”
The posts quickly went viral on both social media platforms, as people quickly chimed in to let Baskin know they agreed with her.
Some commented to let her know they’d dealt with similar forms of discrimination when their disability wasn’t visible to the naked eye for a temporary observer. Others wrote about how the protesters could easily see legal action taken against them for putting the tape all over Baskin’s car—and while she didn’t seem prepared to take their suggestions, the commenters are certainly right.
Hopefully, though, some of the people who saw and shared the post are the ones who had been so upset with her in the first place – and maybe, the next time they see her, they’ll be a bit kinder to the passionate student as she continues to pursue her degree.