I was banned from Kroger for life for a week

Rarely do I play the handicap card. Those of you who know me understand me as a fun-loving guy who gets around the best I can and do not complain. Now is the time to complain, and to play the card.

I posted last week about letting some of the air out of a tire on a car parked in a handicapped space without a H/C tag at Kroger. This was wrong. I should not have done this. Let’s back up and tell the whole story. The Security One officer, let’s call him Barney Fyffe, was in his patrol truck in the lot. I asked him what kind of tickets he was putting on these cars. Turns out, they were WARNING tickets. Security One warning tickets. Apparently if somebody gets 3 of these, they get put on double-secret probation. I asked him to call the police to report them for breaking the law. Barney said his company was not allowed to call the police. WHAT??? You’re the security guard! He went on his patrol mission, and I did what I did. Then I went shopping at Kroger.

As I roll out in my electric wheelchair, I approach a man who has just pulled into the cross-hashed section next to the H/C space. I tell him this is not a proper parking space. He tells me he knows that, flips me off and then walks into Kroger. I take my phone out and fake took a photo of his car and tag. He sees me, and comes back yelling that I’m harassing him. He moves his car. I then see the big woman who is illegally parked in the H/C space. I ask what her handicap is. “Don’t worry about what my m’fing handicap is m’fer!” We begin a loud discussion. She rushes towards me and I move forward in my wheelchair. Now, folks, these things are touchy. My knee touches her car door, and it hits against this woman. She screams that she has just been assaulted, and then begins to yell and scream and spit in my face while pointing her 3” fingernails at my nose. I sit and take it. There is no damage to her car door. The doors in my house are destroyed due to the movements of this wheelchair.

She then wants to make it racial. People are taking pictures with their cell phones. Kroger employees are taking sides. The first guy comes back and says I approached him because he was black. Hey, if you’re ignorant (or just an ass-hole), I don’t care WHAT color you are. Barney Fyffe creeps up and yells in my ear, “SHUT THE F**K UP! “ I turn around, and now, all of a sudden, he is able to call the police. The lady says she has to leave to pick up her kids. I tell Barney that if she leaves, I leave. Barney orders me to stay. I tell him he has no authority. He can’t even call the police. Barney says that the lady(?) is going to come back. Oh, really? Then I’ll be back too.

I go home and shoot off an e-mail to Security One voicing my dismay over their so-called security. I get a response the next morning telling me that the incident will be investigated and they take security seriously. SERIOUSLY? That e-mail was 10 days ago, Bozo, and you haven’t responded or returned my call from today.

Fast forward to this afternoon. I roll across Poplar and Highland to go to the new Kroger. One of the Kroger security guards approaches me and asks me what I’m doing on the property. What? Supposedly, I am banned from the Kroger for the incident last week. Well, nobody ever told me about it. Security Joe says he’s going to call the police. Yeah, you do that. I’ll be in here shopping. I finish and ask if the police have arrived yet. No, I’m told, but they’re on their way. Shame, police can’t respond in a more timely manner when you have a crazy man in a wheelchair shopping at Kroger. I begin to wheel away. I get almost to the UPS Store when I hear the police siren. The siren from a Memphis Police Department cruiser.

MPD Officer Hardass approaches me as if I’m a threat in my wheelchair. I ask him if we can move 4 ft. to the shade (because of my diabetes). He tells me no and asks me what I’m doing. I tell him I’m going home. He then asks what I had been doing. I tell him I was shopping, and reach back to show him the recyclable bag with my milk and sugar-free vanilla sandwich cookies. DON’T REACH BACK THERE! He asks if I have an ID and I motion to my back-pack as I now know not to reach back there. He puts the back pack on my lap, and now he’s a little more at ease, thinking that maybe I am not the treat that I could have been, had I been allowed to go for the sugar- free vanilla sandwich cookies. He asks if I can walk. I tell him I’m  paralyzed from the waist down. He says that when his partner gets here, they’ll put me in the back of the squad car. Really? The squad car? Can’t I just go back to Kroger where your partner is? He agrees, still wary that I may try to out run him in my 7MPH chair.

We meet back up at Kroger, the new on at Poplar Plaza. Two squad cars, two police officers, 3 Kroger security guards, Barney Fyffe, and me, the guy in the wheelchair. One of the Kroger guards identifies me as the culprit from last week. Busted. Guilty. Barney Fyffe tells the cops that I threatened to shoot him earlier in the week. WHAT? He said that he heard that from somebody who works at Kroger. I told him that was hearsay. He said that I used hearsay. Do you even know what hearsay is, Barney? Then a Kroger manager comes out then another manager comes out. One of the managers signs the report and BOOM. Now I am banned for shopping at this particular Kroger FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. I guess this crazed disabled man can create a ruckus at any other Kroger in the world, but not at the one closest to my house. I can no longer roll 1/3 mile to shop for groceries here, but now am forced to roll (as I do not drive) 2.5 miles to the next closest store. Kroger is the only game in town.

MPD Officer Hardass then gave me a stern talkin’ to. What if somebody caught me letting the air out of the car tires? You mean the tires of the car that was not supposed to be parked in the H/C space? Officer said it didn’t matter. Suppose they would have assaulted me? Then what, he asks. You’re right, officer, thanks for saving my life. Thank you officer. Thank you for saving my life. You are right officer. Let’s focus on what didn’t happen instead of what did happen.

In my mind it was a wash. She parked in a parking space illegally, and I let some air out of her literal and metaphorical tire. I take responsibility for my actions and admit what I did was wrong. But did I mention that the big lady with the attitude did not even get a ticket? That’s right. She didn’t get a ticket, and I’m banned from Kroger. Banned from this Kroger. For life. Seems like they are more interested in getting people like me off the streets than enforcing the parking laws. I believe Kroger is discriminating against disabled people. All I want to do is shop at the store near my home.

So if you want to know what all the hub-bub was this afternoon at Poplar and Highland, it was me. No murder, no carjacking, no drug deals going down, no domestic battery, no burglary. Just me. Detained for an incident that happened last week in the parking lot. Yep, there’s a new crime boss in Memphis, and I’m him. Sorry if you had a home-invasion or were raped this afternoon. The cops were at Kroger making sure a disabled man no longer shops there. Probably won’t even make the 6PM news. I hope the streets of Memphis are now safe.

I had a heart transplant and a resulting spinal cord injury on Nov. 29, 2011. I have diabetes, am confined to a wheelchair and wear a diaper. How can I make your day better?

Do you think this disabled man should be banned from Kroger?

22 Comments

  • Reply July 2, 2013

    Tom Melton

    Contact Kroger customer service in Cincinnati, OH. For the rest of the nation do not shop at Kroger or any of their flagship stores until we see s corporate agology on this website.

    • Reply July 3, 2013

      beth pitt

      As the man said, Kroger is the only game in town. They certainly have a monopoly on the grocery business in Memphis.

      • Reply July 4, 2013

        stevecollins

        You can check out any time you want, but you can never, never leave. 🙂

  • Reply July 2, 2013

    todd adams

    Super Lo is locally owned by some great Memphis people… I shop at Super Lo, so should you!

    • Reply July 4, 2013

      stevecollins

      If it weren’t too far to roll in my electric wheelchair, I would!

  • Reply July 2, 2013

    Mickey773

    Society is so afraid of the race card… well really ten percent of the very loud population…sad. Bow down.

  • Reply July 2, 2013

    Pamela Bendall

    I think we should bomb THIS Kroger with emails! And demand that Barney Fyffee be removed from this location! Past this on to you friends! And some one get us the managers and president of Krogers emails!

  • Reply July 2, 2013

    Thelma

    Shame on you Kroger handicapped people have to fight for their rights to a proper parking place really ??? and the guards need better training!!!! I shop at Kroger didn’t realize they don’t enforce handicap parking spaces what a crying shame!!!!!!!!

    • Reply July 4, 2013

      stevecollins

      Thanks for your comment, Thelma. What I did was wrong, and I apologized. I don’t know who should monitor this situation more: Kroger, the Kroger security guards, Security One, or the MPD.

  • Reply July 3, 2013

    Lauren

    Until you receive an apology from both security one and Kroger, I will not shop at Kroger any more. This is uncalled for and is horrible, horrible customer service. What an outrage! Shame on you Kroger!

    • Reply July 4, 2013

      stevecollins

      Thanks for your support, Lauren. I’ll keep you posted on this blog.

  • Reply July 3, 2013

    Eddie

    Taking matters into your own hands, such as letting the air out of the tires and confronting people may make you feel better, but will almost inevitably escalate and end up hurting you more than those who were initially in the wrong. I think Kroger and the police overreacted in banning you for life. I wish you luck in getting that decision overturned.

    • Reply July 4, 2013

      stevecollins

      I could have, and will (in the future) handle this situation differently. Thanks.

  • Reply July 3, 2013

    KWM

    Dude, calm down. I agree that it is wrong for someone to park in a spot that should have been for a handicapped person. But you, sir, were not inconvenienced seeing as how you do not drive. You were confrontational and is sounds like you acted like an asshole, and I got all of this from your words.You started a scene at a new store. Of course the management is going to ban you . They want the place to be as inviting as possible. When the cops showed up, it looked like a crime scene. That’s bad PR.You also vandalized someone else’s car. Sure that person sucks for parking in a spot they don’t deserve or need but you didn’t have to go on the offensive and flatten their tire. That was immature. It hope you learned a lesson. There are some shitty people in the world. Your job is not to correct them. It is to encourage those who are doing positive things to help others and make the world a better place. Having said that: I’m glad you are showing strength and standing up for what you believe in.

    • Reply July 4, 2013

      stevecollins

      I start out in a cordial manner. If it escalates from there, I succumb to the volume knob. Not the best answer, and I will change my behavior in the future. Thanks for your comments. They hit home.

  • Reply July 5, 2013

    Tom Fowler

    Steve,

    You are a super funny and smart guy. This is all beneath you……Your writing abilities are better used for humor than for fighting a fight that is wrong to begin with. The old adage really applies….Two wrongs don’t make a right. She was parked wrong and your response was wrong. No Winners here! My brother is a retired cop. He loved to write tickets for people parked illegally in handicapped zones. Next time….count to ten, say a prayer, and call the cop yourself….God Bless Brother…Love Ya!

    • Reply July 6, 2013

      stevecollins

      You are so right. I have had a week to think about this incident. Don’t know if I know HOW to count to ten, as I went to LSU and therefore have no formal education. I appreciate your words and your concern. new blog is now up and running: http://stevecollinsfunny.com/national-geographic/

  • Reply July 10, 2013

    alec

    KWM ….. sounds like you have a mighty big horse there partner must be hard to climb off. I applaud steve for a taking action when those that should of refused or were just lazy. He was then man enough to apologise for over stepping the line in his actions. You talk about bad PR…this is great for kroger isnt it! I know steve hopes that you would never want to have this battle. Good luck john Wayne!

  • Reply July 12, 2013

    Belo Page

    Steve..You are an encouragement to all us underdogs…and my new hero!Never stop given it back to The Man.Love your posts and stories..Keepm’ commin.Yr friend, Belo

    • Reply July 12, 2013

      stevecollins

      thanks, brother! I am the Chief of Wheelchair Police. Righter of wrongs. Doer of good. Bitch-slapper of those illegally parked in my space.

  • Reply January 6, 2014

    Tex

    Steve,
    This is clearly a situation that calls for the involvement of either Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton.
    Rights were violated, Feelings were hurt, Professional judgement questioned, Hands were tied, No options were left, Laws were broken, Someone could have been hurt, Batteries could have drained.
    I have a feeling this is not going to be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction until clear thinkers like Jesse or Al along with the media get involved.

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