So yesterday I had parked my car in North Melbourne to go to the Queen Victoria Market. There were 2 free spaces, 1 of them was a disabled space and the other now had my car in it. When I got out of my car I walked over to the signpost closest to the disabled space as it also had the PayByPhone zone number on it so that I could enter it into my phone.
As I was reading it, a car was in the process of reversing into the disabled space. Inside it, were two young people, a guy and a girl. I had put the zone number into the App to begin my parking and both the driver and passenger exited their vehicle. Without any malice, hatred or ill-intention, I simply said to the male driver: "You know that's a disabled space right?"
Almost stunned that another human being not known to him would dare communicate, he instantly responded in a very aggressive manner: "What business is it to you? Are you a doctor are you?"
After pondering and then dismissing the opportunity to put my Actors-Doctors hat on, I replied to him: "Whoa, I'm not sure why you're being so aggressive, I'm just letting you know that it's a disabled space in case you didn't see it".
Clearly he didn't like this. He started to puff his chest out like a silverback and looked like he was getting ready for a fight. Being the non-aggressive person that I am and knowing how quickly this situation could get out of hand because clearly I was either dealing with a hot-head or had caught someone out who didn't like it, he responds to me: "Why don't you mind your own business, we've got a disabled sticker!"
From where I was, at the back of their car, I couldn't see if this was true or not, however both he and his partner didn't appear to be showing any visible signs of any physical disability to me. Now before anyone tries to me remind me that not all disabilities are physical in nature (I'm well and true aware of this), I am also a pretty damn good judge of character, and I'm 99.99% certain that there was no such disability, physically or otherwise with either of them.
On a side note, I've also had more than my share of first-hand experience with friends and family who have suffered from various kinds of conditions and afflictions such as anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia and never once has any of them been issued with a disabled parking permit. I felt in my gut that these people had just "borrowed" a relatives permit in order to find fast, easy and cheap parking on a Saturday afternoon at Queen Victoria Market.
This guy wanted to fight, it was obvious. It's very common for people to respond this way when they are caught out and their ego won't allow them to admit it, apologise or do the right thing. Unfortunately for him, I'm neither a Mayweather OR McGregor, so I chose to handle it in a VERY different way.
As he approached me, he was mouthing off and his partner was standing behind him. Steam was virtually coming out of his ears and all he needed was an equally aggressive response from me to give him the green light. Unfortunately (for him), it didn't come.
I went up to him and simply said: "I'm honestly not sure why you're getting so aggressive, all I simply said was that it's a disabled space, because maybe you weren't aware of it". At the same time, I put my hand out and said: "I'm Adam by the way."
Instant confusion came across his face followed by extreme calm, he also put his hand out and as we shook each others hands, he said: "I'm Kaz, I'm sorry about that, sorry I reacted like that." He did look rather embarrassed by the way.
And like that, peace had been reached between two strangers where a potential battle had been looming only moments earlier.
Ego often refuses to submit even if it's been shown to be wrong or caught out. If so, be the better person, offer a sign of peace to your fellow human and the response may surprise you as well as them. Not everything needs to be resolved through violence.
Happy Sunday night to all :)