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Mum-Of-One With Invisible Disability Gets Abusive Anonymous Note After Parking In Disabled Bay


A mother-of-one is campaigning for better awareness of ‘invisible disabilities’ after finding a note on her car reading: ‘Being fat and ugly doesn’t count as disabled – park elsewhere’. PhD student Sarah Metcalfe suffers from fibromyalgia, a long-term condition that causes severe pain all over her body.

She had parked in a disabled bay through fear of not being able to make it round the supermarket with her 13-year-old son Jack. But she found the unpleasant note on her return, which reduced her young son to tears. Sarah, 35, has now called on the person who left the note to come forward so she can discuss ‘invisible disabilities’ with them.

Sarah suffered a serious head injury after a nasty fall five years ago and her fibromyalgia developed after this, along with chronic fatigue syndrome and dizziness.

The condition means she suffers muscle stiffness, tingling all over her arms and legs, chronic pain and dizziness and clumsiness.
Sarah said: ‘Both me and Jack were devastated to find the note. I think they must have seen me leaving my car with a smile on my face so assumed I wasn’t disabled or in pain.

‘Yet I was just happy to be out with my son – but we were both left absolutely heartbroken to find the note, it left us both in tears. Then our hurt turned to anger.  ‘Now that I’ve calmed down I would still like to speak to the cowardly person behind the note to explain how not all disabilities are visible.’


Abuse: The note which Sarah found on her car. (Caters)
Abuse: The note which Sarah found on her car. (Caters)

She has been so wrapped up in her studies at the University of York that she had only just got around to applying for her Blue Badge a few weeks ago and was still going through the process to prove she needs it.

Sarah said that since the bays had not specified that a Blue Badge was needed, she used her own judgement given the pain she was in.

Sarah said: ‘I don’t like to claim benefits, I like to just try and get on with it, but the pain was so bad on this occasion that I was forced to used a disabled bay to limit the walk.

‘There were around 40 disabled parking bays and most were free.  ‘I wouldn’t have been able to go in if I hadn’t used it – my ankles had become so weak that I was worried I’d go over on them. But I was enjoying a day out with my son so was determined to make it in. ‘It was Jack who had to find the note. It floored him – he couldn’t believe someone could say that but use a piece of paper to say it so there can be no comeback, it’s just horrible.’

Sarah believes that the incident highlights a more widespread problem in society, in which people believe being disabled means being in a wheelchair.

Sarah said:

‘Not every disability is visible. Just because I’m not in a wheelchair doesn’t mean I’m not disabled.

‘I think the person who did this should come forward. I just want to talk to them about what it’s like to live with a disability like this.

‘I think they should have thought about the impact that writing this could have had on the wrong person.

‘I consider myself quite a strong person, but this could have gone on someone’s car who couldn’t handle such nasty personal abuse.’

Read Also: 10 Tips for Coping With Fibromyalgia

13 Mistakes Fibromyalgia Patients Make

Source: Yahoo News


  1. I have a Blue Badge and like this mum suffer from Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, Raynaud’s disease and other health problems! I also leave notes on car windows pointing out that a Blue Badge is required to park in a Disabled Bay and laziness or ignorance is not an excuse! I have never commented on someone’s size or weight! Whilst on medication for Fibromyalgia I have put weight on as I am not as fit and mobile as I once was! The wording on the note is wrong in my opinion, but the mother is also wrong by parking in a Disabled Bay without a badge! I often get looks when getting out of my car until they see my walking stick! I think the moral of the story is Do Not Park in a Disabled Bay without a Blue Badge!

  2. I am 8 stone and had fibo from 20 years old im 54 now and in pain all the time people who dont knoww what they’re talking about needs to look up fibo

  3. I am also a sufferer of fibromyalgia. There have been occaisions where, even using a handicapped spot, leave me in so much pain that I’ve fallen inside the store. People laugh, thinking I am clumsy, when in fact I spent years dancing and enjoying gymnastics. Life happens. Unfortunately, it, fibromyalgia, robs us of part of our quality if life. There shouldn’t be ignorant, uneducated mouth runners that try to rob us of our dignity and self respect as well. Smh.

  4. Absolute bollocks! I have fibromyalgia and I’m not overweight. I also am not claiming benefits, I work. NOW what you going to say? Some sufferers of fibromyalgia are in such pain they can barely get out of bed, it’s just luck (or God knows what) that I can still work!

  5. I don’t think this person will come forward. But if we share this enough times maybe it’ll embarrass them. I to have an invisible disability. People are always quick to judge. Until they walk in our shoes, will they ever understand. I’m sorry your son had to be subjected to someone else’s harsh words. Unfortunately, our society consists of ignorant beings. Hope you both can enjoy the rest of your week. Big, gentle hugs sent your way.

  6. Mike R – could you please provide link with medical evidence to back up that claim?? Obesity does not cause Fibromyalgia but Fibromyalgia and the many many meds that must be taken to achieve any kind of functional life actually do cause obesity. If you look up side effects of Lyrica, Cymbalta, Savella, Gabepentin, and most other meds used for Fibromyalgia – weight gain is a side effect.

  7. The poor life choices demonstrated by this lady, such as allowing oneself to become obese through over eating and lack of exercise, are known to contribute to the onset of Fibromyalgia symptoms.

    • Mike. What you said is shocking. I’m 9 stone and have fibromygia. So with your thinking…i should not have it then! I don’t think you can even comprehend how difficult it is to live and exercise when you have this condition. Extreemly small minded! You should not comment on something you know nothing about!

    • Actually many people who have fibromyalgia were once very active. Personally I used to rub 12 miles a week and have competed many times at national karate championships. I now struggle to get round a supermarket on crutches and with my partner pushing the trolley. Many of the drugs used to control fibro symptoms cause wait gain, as can the reduced levels of exercise that sufferers can manage.
      Hence, you should keep your poorly informed opinion to yourself and certainly not try to pass it off as fact!

    • My husband has fibromyalgia and he is not over weight so I am sure you don’t know what your talking about. And his daily activities change depending on how bad he hurts and he can’t do a lot of exercise .