Fat and ugly doesn't count as disabled: Vicious note left on sick mother's windscreen after she used disabled bay in Tesco car park

  • Sarah Metcalfe suffers from neurological illness that causes chronic pain
  • She used disabled bay when shopping at Tesco Extra with 13-year-old son
  • But returned to find the offensive handwritten note on her windscreen
  • The 35-year-old is calling on the 'coward' behind the note to come forward

Without an official Blue Badge, Sarah Metcalfe was hesitant about parking in a disabled bay at her local supermarket.

However, she was in so much pain from a chronic condition that she felt she had little choice if she was to get round the shop with her son.

Struggling back to her car though, nothing could have prepared her for the abusive note that was waiting on the windscreen – one so vicious that it made her 13-year-old son Jack cry.

Offensive: Sarah Metcalfe, who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, discovered this abusive message on her windscreen when she left the store in York, North Yorkshire, with her 13-year-old son, Jack

Offensive: Sarah Metcalfe, who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, discovered this abusive message on her windscreen when she left the store in York, North Yorkshire, with her 13-year-old son, Jack

Written on paper featuring a pair of high-heeled shoes, it read: ‘Being fat and ugly doesn’t count as disabled – park elsewhere.’

Miss Metcalfe, 35 – who suffers from fibromyalgia, a condition that causes severe pain all over her body – is now trying to track down the note’s ‘cowardly’ author.

She said: ‘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. The note 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.’

Chronic pain: Ms Metcalfe's fibromyalgia developed after she had a serious fall five years ago. She also suffers chronic fatigue syndrome. Above, the mother-of-one holding the note next to her car

Chronic pain: Ms Metcalfe's fibromyalgia developed after she had a serious fall five years ago. She also suffers chronic fatigue syndrome. Above, the mother-of-one holding the note next to her car

Miss Metcalfe’s fibromyalgia developed after she had a serious fall five years ago. She also has chronic fatigue syndrome which means she suffers muscle stiffness, tingling all over her arms and legs, dizziness and clumsiness.

WHAT IS FIBROMYALGIA? 

Fibromyalgia can lead to excruciating pain at points all over the body, numbness, crushing fatigue coupled with insomnia, and an inability to handle even mild changes in temperature or light.

For Ms Metcalfe, the condition leads her to experience muscle stiffness, tingling all over her arms and legs and chronic pain.

The illness is a neurological condition thought to affect 1.8 million Britons to varying degrees, and experts do not know what causes it. 

The aim of treatment is not to cure fibromyalgia but to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. 

Individual drugs are often ineffective as a treatment method or lead to side effects. 

Instead, medical experts recommend a number of other approaches such as exercise or cognitive behavioural therapy. 

The mother-of-one, who is a PhD student at the University of York, admitted that she did not have a disabled badge as she is still going through the application process.

However, on the day in question she was in so much pain she decided to use her judgment and park in the bays because they did not specify that a Blue Badge was required.

She 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.’

Miss Metcalfe said she believes the incident at a Tesco Extra store in Clifton Moor, York, highlights a lack of awareness that people have of different disabilities.

‘Just because I’m not in a wheelchair doesn’t mean I’m not disabled,’ she said. ‘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.

'In tears': Ms Metcalfe said she was devastated when she found the note in the car park of the Tesco Extra in Clifton Moor, York, pictured above. She did not have a Blue Badge displayed on her car

'In tears': Ms Metcalfe said she was devastated when she found the note in the car park of the Tesco Extra in Clifton Moor, York, pictured above. She did not have a Blue Badge displayed on her car

‘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.’ 

A Tesco spokesman said the supermarket was 'shocked' to hear about the incident and said the company tries hard to tackle discrimination. 

He said: 'We ask that customers display a blue badge if they are parking in a disabled bay to prevent abuse of these essential spaces, but appreciate our Clifton Moor customer's concerns and would welcome her to talk to our colleagues in store. 

'We will also report this incident to the car park owners.'