INDIANAPOLIS -- A disabled Indianapolis man is calling on others to be respectful after he says people left crude and insulting writing all over his van at a restaurant.
Dustin Gilmer has a brittle bone disability and has spent most of his life using a wheelchair to get around.
Last weekend, he went to a restaurant to meet a friend to watch the Big Ten Championship game but finding a parking spot where he could lower his wheelchair ramp was tough because it was already full.
“So I drove around the parking lot probably three or four times looking for a space that would allow me to deploy my ramp,” said Gilmer.
Since all the handicapped spots were taken, Gilmer says he improvised and parked along a fence near the restaurant patio – making a conscious effort not to block anyone else.
He came out to his van after the game – and saw the vandalism on his van.
“I came out, and there was all this profanity written on my vehicle,” said Gilmer. “I didn’t understand why.”
Someone had scrawled crude drawings of male genitalia all over his windows and other insults directed at him, and his handicap like “Handicapped or not don’t park like a ****.”
“Even if I was blocking someone in, all they had to do was come in and say ‘hey, would you mind please moving your vehicle? You’re backed up a little too close to my car,’” said Gilmer. “I would have gladly come out and moved my car.”
The restaurant staff helped him wash away the profanity, but they couldn’t wash away the hate.
Gilmer said he isn’t angry about what happened, but he wants to share a message with others, so it doesn’t happen to someone else.
“Sometimes when people with disabilities do things, it’s not to be mean or a hassle to other people,” he said. “It’s because we have to. These are the things we have to do in order to have the things everyone else does.”