Air Force veteran Mary Claire Caine had just finished shopping when she found a note on her car scolding her for using a veterans-only parking spot. The note was signed from a “Wounded Vet.”
WNCN reported that at the time of the incident Caine was shopping Friday in Wilmington. The note was taped to her passenger window. She just happened to notice it as she unloaded her groceries.
Caine said her heart sank as she read the note. It read, “Maybe you can’t read the sign you parked in front of. This space is reserved for those who fought for America, not you. Thanks, Wounded Vet.”
Having served in Kuwait and on the flight line of the F-117 Nighthawk, the veteran said the first thing she thought was that a mistake had been made. “The first thing I felt was confusion that there was a mistake, and that I had to talk to this person and ask them why they were so quick to assume that I wasn’t a veteran and that I was taking privileges that didn’t belong to me,” Caine said.
According to WECT, Caine had always felt proud to park in the reserved “Veteran Parking” spaces. Her two children were always excited whenever one of the spots was open, and no one had ever questioned her qualification for it until now.
Caine guessed that because she was a woman, whose vehicle had real estate agent information on the back instead of an armed services bumper sticker, the author of the note drew a hurtful conclusion about her.
“I think they took one look at me when I got out of my car and saw that I was a woman and assumed I wasn’t a veteran and assumed I hadn’t served my country,” Caine said. “They have this image of what today’s American veteran is and honestly if you’ve served in the United States military, you know that veterans come in all shapes and sizes. I question whether the person who left the note was fully aware of that.”
After reading the note, she waited by her car in hopes the “Wounded Vet” would come back and she could ask why they felt the need to leave the note.
She said no one ever returned.
Caine said she knows the likelihood of finding the author of the note is slim, but hopes the person realizes their mistake in judgment.
“I want them to know they owe me and every other female service member who’s fighting now and who’s fought in the past, an apology for jumping to conclusions,” Caine said. “It’s true what the soldiers missing in action slogan is: ‘All gave some and some gave all.’ And, I think that’s very important that sacrifice is sacrifice and I earned the title as a veteran and I’m proud of that.”