NEW BERN — A small change to a familiar parking space is making a big statement through the Accessible Icon Project.
It is an initiative to change the image painted on handicap parking spaces to one that more accurately represents people with disabilities.
The new icon is for people like Brendon Hildreth, 22, who has cerebral palsy, but doesn’t let that stop him.
“He wants to work. He wants to get a job. He’s going to Craven Community College right now and just actually took his first mid-term,” said his mother Darcy Hildreth.
That’s why the family is so invested in the project, to change the idea that handicap people need help.
“The [new] icon is meant to represent moving forward. The design shows disabled people moving forward, not in a stiff armchair position which indicates they need help. Instead, disabled are pictured as more free, by pushing their own wheelchair,” Brendon Hildreth said through a pre-recorded interview.
The family has already done it successfully at the Zaxby’s in New Bern. Zaxby’s is the first business in North Carolina to change their icons, but they won’t be the last.
“The icon itself, it’s actually a tremendous icon. The old one is so dated and the new one it’s evolved. We’re trying to prove that Zaxby’s can evolve and grow like the icon, and it’s been a tremendous way for us to do that,” said Assistant General Manager for Zaxby’s Scott Pringle.
The parking spaces in front of the Texas Roadhouse in New Bern will soon be a thing of the past; the family is coming to the restaurant this weekend to paint the new symbol over the old.
“I hope that people understand that this project is about more than just a picture. It is important to me to show others that we are human beings and can be independent,” said Brendon Hildreth.
To learn more about the Accessible Icon Project and the Americans with Disabilities Act, click here.