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Dare to Ask: Any way to know if cart users ever fake disability?

By Phillip Milano


What I just experienced at the grocery store infuriated me. Three women — a teenager, an elderly woman and a middle-aged woman — were shopping together. The teenager was riding a motorized cart for handicapped customers. After checking out, the teenager jumped off the cart and all three walked out laughing their butts off. I can understand teenage immaturity, but what about the others? What can managers and customers do? — Shirley, 50, St. Louis


Are you sure the teen didn’t have a disability? My 22-year-old niece has a medical issue that makes it impossible for her to walk more than 10 to 15 minutes. She doesn’t look disabled and can walk fine, but unless you knew her you wouldn’t think she had an issue. — M., female, Georgia

As a handicapped shopper, I know that all people with a valid handicap will have a red (temporary) or blue (permanent) parking placard allowing them to use a handicap parking spot. A handicap registration goes with the placard. The handicapped person is to keep a copy of this registration on them at all times. If all stores had the available manpower, they should only issue carts to shoppers with a current handicap registration. — Rob, 49, Jacksonville

Expert says

Art Metrano played a goofy cop in the “Police Academy” movies of the ’80s — OK there were a lot of goofy cops in “Police Academy,” but he was one of the more high-ranking ones.

Though he recovered after a fall from a ladder at home injured his spinal cord, he still uses a motorized wheelchair for longer distances, and advocates for the disabled.

Like his character, Metrano’s not too subtle.

“Some of these people, they’re thoughtless. … A young person who’s never had any tragedy, they don’t think about the other person as much. They see an electric cart and think, ‘Oh there’s something I can have, who gives a —— ?’ They don’t care.”

Metrano’s plan for them?

“If I was physically able, I’d get out of my own cart and throw the kid off it and make sure it’s there for someone who needs it.”

But what about the rest of us? Or a store manager?

Placards in the carts’ baskets reminding shoppers who the carts are really for would be a start — along with some firm assertiveness, he said.

“It’s very delicate for a manager, but at the same time, if they see a young boy using one and he looks OK, they can ask the boy or his parent, ‘Are you handicapped?’ ” said Metrano. “Don’t just let the parent let the kid use it as a toy.”

Metrano, whose one-man show “Jews Don’t Belong On Ladders … An Accidental Comedy” has raised more than $175,000 for the Project Support for Spinal Cord Injury, is somewhat of a zealot when it comes to handicapped parking spots, too.

“I’ve had many occasions where I stopped someone in the lot. Once I even stopped a guy in L.A. that I knew. I said ‘What are you doing with a handicapped spot?’ He was like, ‘I had an ingrown toenail removed.’ Now that’s stupid.”

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