When I noticed the two women getting out of the convertible in front of the hotel, I had a feeling there was going to be an awkward moment. My husband spotted them the same time I did and proceeded to do exactly what I was hoping he wouldn’t do.

When I noticed the two women getting out of the convertible in front of the hotel, I had a feeling there was going to be an awkward moment. My husband spotted them the same time I did and proceeded to do exactly what I was hoping he wouldn't do. Excuse me, ma’am, he called out. The two women looked up curiously as they stepped out of the car. Are you aware that you’re parking in a handicapped parking place?” he asked. I was sure everyone in the parking lot and possibly all of those on South Padre Island heard him.

They looked a little confused. I nudged and said, “Shhhhh, they may be handicapped.” Being handicapped isn’t always about needing a wheelchair. Other conditions, such as severe visual or physical impairment, severe respiratory problems, cardiac conditions, and loss of all, or substantially all, the use of one or more limbs are certified medical qualifications for a handicap sticker. However, he had already thought of that. “There is no handicap sticker on their car,” he said.

The women were irritated and retorted, “It’s none of your business.” “Oh yes, it is,” he said“I have friends who are handicapped, and they may need that space.”

I really wanted to escape by then, but the women looked at each other and said, “Well, you can’t do anything about it, anyway,” and proceeded to go on their way.

Undeterred, he said, “Yes,” as he patted his cell phone. “I can call 911.” Parking a vehicle in a space reserved for persons with disabilities or in a striped access aisle in violation of this section shall be punishable by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500, with zero tolerance.

I urged him to continue walking into the hotel where we were going for brunch, but the truth was I admired him for standing up for what he thought was right.

I felt that same admiration when Senator Eddie Lucio spoke at our Texas writers conference that weekend so many years ago. He talked about the Senate Bill 19 that would require half-hour physical activity daily as part of physical education and the breakfast–lunch initiative that would ensure all school-age children have a hot, nutritious breakfast and lunch. When he completed his presentation, he put his notes down and finished with, “I am glad Texas is still a state under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

Knowing that was not a part of his prepared speech, I was curious to see if he would stand by his closing remarks. “What you said about being under God and justice for all,” I said. “Is that something you wouldn’t mind me quoting?” Without hesitation, he replied, “Yes, sure you can.”

The reason I flinched when I saw the women illegally parking in the handicapped space was because I knew my husband would say something. His example of taking a stand for what he believes is right is why our children have never hesitated to do the same thing.

When our daughter was in the tenth grade, she took a chance of being rejected by her peers. An announcement was made on the intercom that prayer would no longer be allowed before football games.

“There will only be a moment of silence,” the principal announced. This upset her. She talked to other students who felt the same way, and they decided to take the stand.

They printed the Lord’s Prayer on little cards and stood at the gate, handing them out to all who accepted them. When the moment of silence changed, she and the cheerleaders and all those who wanted to participate repeated The Lord’s Prayer.

She didn’t lose any friends or become less popular. Her actions did not result in putting prayer back in the schools, but it strengthened her character.

History is peppered with great moments when people wouldn’t back down. From the Boston Tea Party to the French Revolution, the world has been changed because one small group stood up for what was right and refused to go with the flow in embarrassment (or worse).

And I can assure you that when American Patriots through a few barrels of tea in the water to protest taxation without representation, they had no idea they were throwing out the seeds of the greatest country ever born.

We see these as tremendous accomplishments, but taking a stand for what we feel is right–every day– is no less important. Life would be pretty dull and quite frightening if we all lived in neutral gear, I thought as we walked outside the hotel restaurant in the bright, sunny afternoon.

I looked to see if the convertible and the two women were still in the parking lot, but they weren’t. I did notice a silver convertible that looked just like theirs in the regular parking space, though, as we drove away.

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Deana Landers
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I have had many roles in life
Pastor’s Wife , Mom/Nana , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer , Christian Speaker
I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing stories, either in my head or in my journal.

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