UPDATE: June 21, 2016 -- Rebecca Landis Hayes, a female Navy veteran who found an angry note on her car after parking in a veterans-only parking spot, has since received a hand-written apology.
The note's author writes that they mistakenly assumed Hayes was not a veteran after seeing "so many young people park in retired vet's spaces, along with handicap lately."
"I lost my cool," the author continued, "I'm sorry you were the one who got the result of my angry moment."
Hayes told The Huffington Post that the letter was mailed to her work office with no return address, identification or signature. Read the full apology letter below:
Women have taken great strides toward gender equality in the military, but it seems there's still a long way to go before misogynists realize this.
Rebecca Landis Hayes was running errands at a shopping center in Concord, North Carolina, on Monday when she pulled into a parking stall reserved for veterans.
When she returned to her car, she found a rude, handwritten message taped to her windshield:
"This parking is for veterans, lady," the anonymous note read. "Learn to read and have some respect."
There's just one problem: Hayes is a veteran.
Hayes served as a physician in the United States Navy for eight years, but it seems that because she was dressed in business casual clothing, the note's author decided that there was no way she could be a veteran and decided to tell her as much.
She responded to her anonymous pen pal in the best possible way in a Facebook post on Monday, which is going viral.
"I know I parked in one of the Veteran Parking spaces today, it was hot," Hayes wrote. "The parking lot was full, so I just did it. It was the first time, and I won't do it again."
"I'm sorry," she continued. "I'm sorry that you can't see my eight years of service in the United States Navy. I'm sorry that your narrow misogynistic world view can't conceive of the fact that there are female veterans."
Read the full message below:
Above all the other feelings she experienced, Hayes said the note mostly disappointed her.
"I felt disappointed that in 2016, my being a female somehow meant I couldn't be a veteran," Hayes told The Huffington Post, adding that she has avoided using reserved veteran parking in the past in fear of having to "explain or justify my being a veteran."
Hayes said her husband, who is an Army veteran, uses these types of parking spaces all the time, with no difficulties.
"He has never been questioned and if anything, people thank him for his service," she told HuffPost.
Hayes said that she wrote the "apology" in the hope that the note's author would learn a valuable lesson: There is no such thing as a typical veteran.
"Veterans come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, races, genders and religious affiliations," Hayes told local NBC affiliate WCNC. "And you can't necessarily stereotype what an American veteran looks like."
At the end of her Facebook post, which has been shared more than 3,500 times since Sunday, Hayes offered the note's author one final question.
"I served, did you?"