After attending the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Downtown Dallas, Jonathan Merchant, a disabled U.S. Army veteran, discovered that despite possessing a valid parking pass, his wheelchair-accessible van had been ticketed and booted. Merchant, paralyzed from the waist down, was forced to pay a $120 fine to get his vehicle back.
Merchant parked in a paid lot near the Wheelchair Games and tried to pay for parking using a credit card machine, which was the only option available. Because of his injuries, Merchant could not swipe his credit card fast enough for the machine to process his payment.
Another veteran who was leaving the games came to the rescue after noticing that Merchant was having trouble with the parking machine. The other Veteran gave Merchant his parking pass that still had several hours paid on it and Merchant went on to attend the games.
Merchant later returned to the parking lot and was surprised to find that his van had been ticketed and booted, despite having displayed a valid parking payment. The parking lot attendant explained that Merchant was properly ticketed because the parking company does not allow “parking transfers.”
According to CBS Dallas/Fort Worth, Merchant said, “It was embarrassing. I just couldn’t believe what was going on.”
Regarding the parking lot attendant, Merchant said, “He had no compassion for the disabled. He didn’t care whether I could move my fingers. He didn’t care. He said this is a business. I’m here to run a business.”
The parking lot has signs stating that “in and out” parking is not permitted. However, the signs and parking passes themselves failed to state anywhere that parking transfers are not permitted. CBS News contacted Ace Parking to investigate the matter further, but the company would not comment.
Merchant is speaking out about the event to prevent something similar from occurring in the future. He said, “They need to look out for other veterans or other people with disabilities for that matter.”