SAN ANTONIO — Levi Rodgers knows his way around a wheelchair.
The 17-year U.S. Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient said he spent a couple months using one after an IED explosion in Afghanistan. The bomb killed four of his friends; Rodgers was the only survivor.
He went on to become an advocate for military veterans.
“(There is a) tremendous amount of friends of mine that are amputees or paralyzed,” he said.
Friends like Harry Shaw, another Army veteran bound to a wheelchair for more than 35 years. Those friends are also why Rodgers is speaking out after catching a United States Postal Service driver parked in a handicap spot at Stinson Municipal Airport.
“He actually had some big boxes put on his shoulder and was walking them into the building,” Rodgers said. “(He) looked over to see if there was a disabled (card); it didn’t have one.”
The driver, he says, was taking up a valuable space.
“Bottom line: Every day in San Antonio there are people in wheelchairs that cannot park and enter and exit their vehicles safely,” Rodgers said.
That includes Shaw, who says parking at the far end of H-E-B parking lots isn’t uncommon. In fact, he said it happens so often that he rigged his truck to be able to get in and out through the back.
“It can get quite dangerous when you are at my height, then you got cars coming,” Shaw said. “They don’t see you all the time.”
Rodgers said he hopes shedding light on the incident with the USPS driver will get people thinking twice before parking illegally.
USPS provided the following statement after being contacted by KENS 5:
"Thank you for sharing this photograph with us. Safety and safe work practices are of paramount importance to the Postal Service. We strive to be good neighbors in the communities we serve daily, and as such, our drivers are instructed to abide by all governing motor vehicle laws, to include only parking in legal and authorized locations.
"We're disappointed to learn of an employee parking in a designated handicapped space and apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused. The Postal Service is investigating the matter and will take appropriate action to ensure this does not occur again."