CONCORD, NC (WBTV) - A veteran from Concord went to social media after she said a note was left on her vehicle when she parked in Veteran Parking, accusing her of abusing the spot.
The incident happened Monday at the Harris Teeter at the Coddle Creek Shopping Center.
"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 wrote on Facebook.
Hayes, who served in the U.S. Navy for eight years, said she normally doesn't use the two parking places reserved for veterans at the store. But she said on Monday, both were empty.
After about 30 minutes in the store, she headed home. That's when she noticed the small piece of paper under her windshield wiper.
"At first, I thought someone had left a note because they hit my car or something like that," Hayes said. She pulled over, expecting to call someone and swap insurance info. Instead, she cried while reading a note that accused her of abusing the veteran parking.
"This parking is for Veterans, lady," the note read, "Learn to read [and] have some respect."
Hayes believes the note was left because she is a woman and didn't fit the "stereotype" of a veteran in her business-casual attire.
That's a stereotype she hopes to change.
"Veterans come in all shapes, sizes, genders and colors," Hayes told WBTV in a phone interview. "More veterans don't fit that stereotype than do."
Hayes said her husband, a veteran of the U.S. Army, has parked in the spot before. Unlike her, she said, he's never gotten more than a "Thank you for your service" when getting out of his vehicle.
She said if whoever left the note had simply told her that, her reaction alone would have told them she deserved to park there.
"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?"