“We've been through a lot. She's worn a helmet and leg braces most of her life, on oxygen for over a year,” said Alyssa Steele.
Alyssa Steele told WSBTV that her family looks like a healthy group of five. But her daughter is not as capable as she looks.
"She has Chiari malformation. It's where part of the brain comes out of the skull and it affects nearly every part of her life," Alyssa Steele said.
Jemma Steele tires easily, among other problems, which is why the family SUV carries a handicapped tag. That's also why Alyssa Steele parked in a handicapped spot in front of Mellow Mushroom in Kennesaw, Georgia when she brought her daughter to a dinner with friends Thursday night.
When the family returned to their car, Alyssa Steele's husband spotted the note on the car and tried to hide it from her. She saw it and read it anyway. The message confronted her, claiming she wasn't handicapped.
“You are not handicapped," the note read. "You are a sorry sack of (expletive). Merry Christmas! I have reported your license tag to Cobb Sheriff’s Dept.”
“It’s really sad that people could be so quick to judge others, and I don't understand how they thought it was their place to say anything, let alone how they phrased what they said," Alyssa Steele said.
Now, Alyssa Steele wants to raise awareness about the “invisibility” of some disabilities.
"I definitely was hurt and it made me question how people can do something like that. I wanted to change the situation from how we are affected by that to how we can spread awareness on how other people are struggling with disabilities that are not seen to the eye," Alyssa Steele said.