The note (below) read "Being fat and ugly doesn't count as disabled (park elsewhere)."
Metcalfe explained to The Mighty she did not yet have a handicap pass, because she was still waiting for it to arrive. But she decided to take a chance and park in the reserved spot — not because she wanted to take the easy way out, but because she suffers from fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder that causes widespread pain.
5 million people in the U.S. over 18 years of age suffer from the disease.
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Metcalfe decided to write a Facebook response back to the person who left the nasty note to set them straight.
Her response read as follows:
Dear shopper in Clifton Moor Tescos, York car park, at approx 6pm today, the 30th of April 2015, who decided to leave this hurtful note on my car.
I know I may not look ill. In fact, I choose to smile rather than cry, but I do suffer from a long-term condition that causes pain and fatigue all over my body, and these symptoms are:
* increased sensitivity to pain
* fatigue (extreme tiredness)
* muscle stiffness*
* problems with mental processes (known as "fibro-fog") – such as problems with memory and concentration headaches
* irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a digestive condition that causes
* stomach pain and bloating
* feeling too hot or too cold – this is because you're not able to regulate your body temperature properly
* restless legs syndrome (an overwhelming urge to move your legs)
* tingling, numbness, prickling or burning sensations in your hands and feet (paraesthesia)
* anxiety and depression
Despite the fact that I work hard (I never take sick time), don't claim disability benefits (not that it's wrong for people that do), and I juggle work and family life, I was really just having a BAD and very painful day. Please don't be so quick to judge people by appearances. I fear one day you may say the same to someone, and it could really push them over the edge. Luckily, I am open-minded and know that appearances can be deceptive, and that some people don't know these things. But I would just like to say to you, if your reading this now, that it's better to be kind than hateful — quite frankly you never know what kind of day a person is having, and what the consequences of your actions will be. I would be grateful if you are reading this if you could SHARE, so that there's a chance this person reads it.
While she was still not permitted to park in the handicap spot, the note struck a nerve. Fibromyalgia is a "silent" disease, like many chronic pain illnesses.
As Penney Cowan of Media Planet put it: "[A silent disease] affects ones' ability to think clearly, complete the basic tasks of daily life, hold down a job, or have any quality of life. People with pain are stigmatized and isolated."
Metcalfe's post has been shared over 3,000 times. She wrote in a comment that she hopes the person sees what she wrote.
"It may make them think twice next time."
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