CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) — A U.S. Navy service member who was parked in a veteran’s parking spot at a retail store over the weekend returned to her car to find a note telling her she didn’t belong there.
Gina Danals said she first thought, “Well maybe it says thank you for your service; I’m in a veterans spot!”
Then she got a closer look. “So when I got up there, I was like, ‘No, that’s a note.’ It was a quick read, and at first, I was like, ‘Huh?” she said. “No, it says you shouldn’t be parking here.”
The Navy chief has made a career of serving. “I joined right out of high school,” said Danals.
At first, it was something she did for her family.
“I joined for my dad but stayed for myself. Every time reenlistment came up, there were no other options for me,” said Danals, who has served for 18 years.
On her days off, when she has time to fix up her home, she often drives to Lowes in Monroe, North Carolina. There’s a parking spot near the front that’s set aside for veterans just like her.
On Sunday, she said, she was walking to her car when she noticed a handwritten post-it note tucked on her windshield.
“It says, ‘It’s a veteran parking spot for a reason, for ‘there’ service,” read Danals. “It’s underlined twice. They spelled ‘there,’ T-H-E-R-E,” she said, pointing out the grammar error.
But then, the message started to sink in. She said the person who wrote the note must have been judging her and not looking at her car.
“If they would have judged it based on the car alone, there’s military on the car. So, they didn’t judge it by the car, they had to judge it by my appearance,” said Danals, pointing out her Navy license plate on the front and the Navy sticker on the back.
She posted the note on social media and said she immediately started hearing from others.
“A lot of my other military friends are like, ‘What? What’s going on here?’ Surprisingly, a lot of them wrote back with the same situation,” said Danals.
She said veterans aren’t all the same. Some are old, young, men and women, but she said they have one thing in common.
“The thing is, these are the people who we fight for, that’s why I’m not mad. You can get a little frustrated, but this is what we fight for,” said Danals. “They had that freedom to put that note on my car.”