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Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD – A painted handicap-parking space shows the texture of pervious concrete Thursday, June 9, 2016, at the Xavier Convocation Center in New Orleans.

Just as I bounded out of my vehicle at the grocery store the other day, I saw a car roll into the vacant handicapped parking spot. Out jumped two young people. Both were walking great and laughing. In fact, they seemed pleased that they got the close parking spot, never mind that it was clearly designated for handicapped drivers.

I was furious. I went to see if the young driver had a handicapped license. Nope. There was nothing else on the dashboard, windshield or hanging from the rear-view mirror to proclaim a disability.

I hate that. Get your lazy behind to another spot. Don’t park in spots designated for handicapped drivers, ever. How insensitive.

Just then, I saw an older woman get out of her vehicle, walking very slowing toward the store. It was obvious that she was in some distress. I asked if she needed help, but she declined, saying she could make it.

I checked later. Yes, she had a handicapped sticker.

This is one of my pet peeves. Folks, shouldn’t you feel blessed that you are not handicapped and need that special parking place? What is wrong with you?

Oh, and being old is not an automatic license to park in the handicapped spot. Show me the license.

One report I read said that statistically, we probably know someone who has broken handicapped parking regulations for their own benefit. Are you one of them?

Another common method of abuse of disabled parking spaces involves a nondisabled driver using the permit of a disabled acquaintance who isn’t present.

It is estimated that around one-third of vehicles that display disabled placards are doing so fraudulently.

Here’s what advocates for those who have to use the disabled parking spaces say: If you see an incidence of handicapped parking abuse, report it to the police or the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Complaining is the best means of more spots being taken away from people that really need them.

Write down the vehicle’s license plate number if you see a car parked in a handicapped spot without a placard or a handicapped license plate. Copy down the person’s handicapped placard number as well, if there is one placed inside the vehicle.

One person was quoted in a story about handicapped parking abuse: “Think about others who are not as fortunate as you and just realize that we depend on these spots.”

Now, after venting, there is a sticky wicket in all of this. It’s impossible to determine whether someone has a disability or a health condition based on their appearance.

As Lexi Baskin said on a social media site: “Just because I look fine in the 2 minutes I walk from my car to the building does not mean I am not battling cancer and undergoing radiation treatment.”

While most people will sympathize with someone in such a circumstance, if that driver has no handicapped license plate proving the right to park in such designated slots, then they shouldn’t be there.

There are some cities that have designated parking for combat-disabled veterans. So, Mr., Mrs. and Ms. Lazy, you want to park there because you’re too insensitive to do the right thing?

By the way, I came out of the store before the two women returned to their car. I waited awhile but I eventually had to leave. I checked again around the car and did not find anything designating they were handicapped.

I should have reported them, so I have to take a few demerits for that.

It would be wonderful and effective if some lazy so-and-so would get a big fat ticket for illegally parking in a handicapped spot and the ticket would be placed on social media.

Just a hint.

Email Edward Pratt, a former newspaperman who writes a weekly Advocate column, at epratt1972@yahoo.com