This woman called out the writer of a sexist note claiming she’s not a veteran
You can’t judge a book by its cover, but that’s never stopped people from trying. That’s why one female veteran took it upon herself to publicly school a rude stranger who left a “misogynistic” note on her car after she parked in a veterans-only parking space.
Rebecca Landis Hayes wrote on Facebook that she stopped at a Concord, North Carolina, Harris Teeter store to run a quick errand. She parked in a spot reserved for veterans, which makes complete sense, as she served in the U.S. Navy for eight years. But when she returned to her car, she was startled to find a rude note that said, “This parking is for veterans, lady. Learn to read and have some respect.”
Hayes shared the note on her Facebook page and fired back with a powerful response. “I know I parked in one of the Veteran Parking spaces today,” she wrote. “It was hot. I had been in and out of my car several times already this afternoon, and I was only going to be a minute. Besides, the parking lot was full, so I just did it. It was the first time, and I won’t do it again. I’m sorry…”
She continued, “I’m sorry that you can’t see my eight years of service in the United States Navy. I’m sorry that your narrow misogynistic world view can’t conceive of the fact that there are female Veterans. I’m sorry that I have to explain myself to people like you.”
Most of all, she writes, she’s sorry they didn’t get to have this conversation in person so she could set the person straight, face to face. “You didn’t have the integrity and intestinal fortitude to identify yourself, qualities the military emphasizes,” she wrote. “Which leads to one question, I served, did you?”
Since her post went up, it’s been shared more than 2,000 times and generated a wave of supportive comments. WCNC reports Harris Teeter representatives even reached out to Hayes and apologized on behalf of the rude customer. Wrote one woman, “Thank you again for your service… My young female cousin just won an ROTC scholarship and is joining the National Guard. That story was in my feed right above this one. I hope that the recognition for female veterans gets better for all of the women who serve.”
The person who wrongly called Hayes out probably thought they were doing a good thing and protecting a space for veterans, but unfortunately they allowed their own perceptions and prejudices to dictate their actions. According to a 2011 report by CNN, there are over 203,000 women on active duty in the military, and another 130,000 in both the reserves and the National Guard. Thousands of women choose to serve their country, and anyone with respect for veterans should know the title is not solely reserved for men.
Hayes’ post is a good reminder that we can never know a person’s story just by looking at them, and it’s important to treat everyone with kindness, dignity, and respect. Hopefully her message will reach the person who left her that note, and they’ll reconsider next time they get the urge to pretend they’re the parking spot police.