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‘Healthy-looking’ BMW driver with debilitating stomach injuries car says she gets regularly abused and her car vandalised because of where she parks: ‘People don’t think I’m disabled’

  • A disabled woman’s car was keyed at a mall  
  • Stephanie Kelly does not ‘look disabled’
  • She cops abuse almost anytime she parks 

A woman suffering from severe stomach injuries has spoken out about the abuse she cops for parking in disabled spots – even though she has a tag and is legally allowed to.

At first glance Stephanie Kelly looks like a perfectly healthy 27-year-old, but five years ago she was in a horrific car accident that left her with intestinal failure.

The crash left her unable to eat so the only way she can get nutrition is through feeding tubes. 

But when Ms Kelly pulled up in her BMW to a south-west Sydney shopping centre last year she was met with filthy looks and after returning to her car, she found it had been keyed – with dashcam footage capturing incident.

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‘There’s definitely a stereotype of what a disability looks like,’ Ms Kelly said.

‘There’s so many times when I get out of the car and people are looking at me and I just want to pull my top up (to show them the tubes).

‘They are angry because I am young, I appear healthy and I have a nice car… a lot of people don’t think I am disabled, they think I am using it [disabled parking pass] for convenience.’

At first glance Stephanie Kelly looks like a perfectly healthy 27-year-old blonde, but five years ago she was in a horrific car accident that left her with intestinal failure

At first glance Stephanie Kelly looks like a perfectly healthy 27-year-old blonde, but five years ago she was in a horrific car accident that left her with intestinal failure 

The crash left Ms Kelly her unable to eat so the only way she can get nutrition is through feeding tubes

The crash left Ms Kelly her unable to eat so the only way she can get nutrition is through feeding tubes 

The incident during her weekly shop at Woolworths was far from the first time Ms Kelly has been targeted for parking in a disabled parking space.

More recently a ground of girls in a P-plated car lashed out at them when her fiancé Adam reversed into a space at McDonald’s.

One of the girls said ‘that’s a disabled spot’ assuming it belonged to the couple’s grandparents.

When Ms Kelly showed the girls her bright blue permit on their dash the girl said: ‘You don’t look disabled’.

A short time later they found their car splattered with ice-cream.  

‘We walk back out to our car and the first thing Adam notices is ice cream all over the front bonnet and guard,’ Ms Kelly told 7Life

‘What they did was went through Drive Thru, came back out and threw an entire soft serve cone onto our car.’ 

Ms Kelly (pictured on the catwalk at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week) said she thinks drivers are angry because she is young, appears healthy and has a flashy car

Ms Kelly (pictured on the catwalk at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week) said she thinks drivers are angry because she is young, appears healthy and has a flashy car

Now, she often parks in regular spots to avoid the ‘hate and the judgmental looks’ and the fear someone may vandalise her car. 

Ms Kelly wishes people would just ask her if they are curious about her disability which leaves her in chronic pain and unable to work.

‘Just say, ‘Hey you know that’s a disabled spot?’ I’ll go, ‘Yeah that’s okay, I have a disabled pass, I’ve got some disabilities or chronic illness’,’ she said.

‘I’ll tell you my whole life story. I’m so open.’

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