BMW owner gets the message – Chicago Tribune

Posted: Sunday, May 04, 2014

For the past few weeks, Hailey Danisewicz has been in a war she calls Hailey v. the BMW.

The battle began when Danisewicz, who is 23, got fed up with a black BMW sedan that, day after day, sat parked in a handicapped spot in the lot closest to her office.

The BMW had no tag or placard indicating that its owner was disabled.

Danisewicz is missing her left leg.

“Every day I would come in and see it,” she said Friday, standing on the battleground, a patch of asphalt along Institute Place just north of downtown, “and it would really just burn my butter.”

A lively, friendly person, she was laughing, but she doesn’t find the story all that funny.

In the depths of winter, when snow obscured the ground, Danisewicz gave the BMW the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the driver hadn’t seen the big yellow wheelchair symbol painted on the pavement.

Her heart hardened once the ice melted and the car continued to roll right over the yellow wheelchair.

She took her frustration to Facebook.

“When I pulled in this morning and saw the ignorant bastard parked there once again,” she posted one day in late April, “it was the last straw.”

By that, she meant that her complaints to the parking lot company had not succeeded in routing the BMW, so she’d called 311. She was transferred to 911, and though she didn’t think her problem was of 911 magnitude, she was glad to hear it would be taken care of. It wasn’t.

“Are you KIDDING me??” she posted a couple of days later. “He’s back!”

Her battle developed a following on Facebook. Scores of friends rallied with support and suggestions.

Put sugar in his gas tank. Let the air out of his tires. Chain a wheelchair next to the spot.

“Salami slices all over!” someone posted. “It eats the paint and turns the car polka dot!”

She refrained from such attacks.

“One,” she said Friday, “I believe in karma. Two, I care about my own car. I didn’t want to incriminate myself and escalate the situation to the point where I would be retaliated against.”

Besides, there was always the possibility that the BMW driver really did have a disability.

“As someone who has a disability that is easily concealed with a pair of pants (and who, quite frankly, doesn’t even view herself as disabled most days),” she posted on Facebook at one point, “I feel like I’m in no position to pass judgment or jump to conclusions.”

She couldn’t help but pass judgment anyway.


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