An Afghanistan war hero veteran was called a “Government draining di******” for using a disabled parking bay at Derriford Hospital.
Ben McBean lost an arm and a leg while on tour in Afghanistan in 2008 and finally received his blue badge last month following a lengthy struggle to get it back.
The 33-year-old former Royal Marine, who was dubbed a ‘real hero’ by Prince Harry, has now revealed he used the badge for the first time on Friday, February 5, and was met with a barrage of abuse.
Ben said a woman was “really upset” that he had used the space and called him a “Government draining di******”, but as he was “running late” he didn’t get a chance to educate her.
He said that he will not “walk around in shorts and a t-shirt” for the rest of his life just to show that he is disabled.
Explaining the incident, Ben said: “Where I was going [to park] was next to disabled parking and I thought, why not, why not just use it for once?
“So I jumped in the space and some woman obviously got really upset about it. She said I was draining the Government out of money. She called me a ‘Government draining di******’.”
Ben said he was “running late so didn’t have the chance to say anything back” but is now now urging people to understand that not all disabilities are visible.
Ben said: “I’m not going to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt for the rest of my life, just to show that I have got disabilities and a sign on the back of my car or something.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Ben believes that many people have a misconception that people with disabilities look a certain way and that someone “in a tracksuit” cannot be disabled.
“People just think that disability is someone in a wheelchair or really old, if you know what I mean,” he said.
“Not someone who jumps out in a tracksuit and walks down the street. I was always expecting some kind of grief and no doubt it will happen again.
“This is the way that people look at disabilities.”
Ben was at the hospital as he has surgery coming up from old injuries and has previously shared the difficulty he experienced having to walk a further distance into the hospital.
“When I was at Derriford and I was walking all the way back and forth back to the car park and the ward, carrying all my bags three or four times back and forth with one hand, that’s when I was just p***** off at the end of it,” he said.
He then shared a tweet about his frustration with not having a blue badge, which encouraged Plymouth City Council and Johnny Mercer to both get in touch with Ben to help resolve the issue.
“The midwives said, ‘I can’t believe you haven’t got a badge’ and that night I just basically tweeted about it to say when I think about it, it is ridiculous,” he said.
He hopes that the system will now change and that people will not have to “argue the toss” to get a badge if they need one.
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