UPDATE: US Navy Veteran Derided for Parking in Vets’ Space Receives Apology

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AN APOLOGY IS OFFERED:

The individual who left veteran Rebecca Hayes a snarky note, criticizing her for parking in a veterans’ space, has since apologized. The original note was shared on social media by many who empathized with Hayes’ frustration that someone discount her sacrifice by stereotyping her, and eventually reached its author. An apologetic and remorseful letter arrived in Hayes hands shortly after.


When U.S. Navy veteran Rebecca Hayes pulled into the Coddle Creek Shopping Center, she didn’t expect to be admonished for it. But in an ignorant and shortsighted attempt at manners, someone left a note on Hayes vehicle criticizing her for parking in a space marked for veterans.

Exiting the Concord, N.C. store, Hayes spotted the note and said she expected to find someone had hit her car. On closer inspection, realizing someone had watched her park and assumed she had never served in the military before scrawling the impetuous few sentences, she began to cry.

“This parking spot is for Veterans, lady,” Hayes read. “Learn to read and have some respect.”

Later that day, Hayes posted the note to Facebook and addressed its author in an open letter.

“I know I parked in one of the Veteran Parking spaces today, 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.”

Rebecca Hayes is a veteran of the U.S. Navy.

Rebecca Hayes is a veteran of the U.S. Navy.

Hayes said her husband, a veteran of the U.S. Army, has parked in the spot before and has never been harassed. She believes the note was left by someone who improperly stereotyped her.

“I’m sorry that we didn’t get a chance to have this conversation face to face, and that you didn’t have the integrity and intestinal fortitude to identify yourself, qualities the military emphasizes,” Hayes wrote on Facebook. “Which leads to one question, I served, did you?”

In 1901, the first women began serving in the military under the Army Nurse Corps. Since then, thousands of women have served their nation in a variety of roles in the armed forces. Today, 15 percent of the United States’ veterans are women. As service members, they are, in theory, entitled to the same benefits as their male counterparts, but in practice, this is far from true. VA hospitals are critically understaffed and unprepared to address medical issues specific to women. Write today to Secretary of the Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald, and tell him to make sure women veterans get the care they need and deserve.

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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and world traveler with a background in journalism, graphic design, and French pastry. He likes to learn new things whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, folk music and coffee.