The Public Bathroom Wars
More than once, I have gone to the public bathroom in grocery stores and walked into an ugly fight over the handicapped stall. The person with the wheelchair, motor cart, or walker thinks that their stall has been stolen by ambulatory people who can use another stall.
About a month ago, one of these episodes happened right after I held the door open in the woman's bathroom for a lady who was on a motor cart. She thanked me. Then as she powered into the bathroom, she became increasingly upset at what looked like an ambulatory family to her. They were in the handicapped stall. She cussed them out bigtime! A woman with three very young daughters walked out of there very upset. The woman did apologize to her and said that because her kids are young and need help that they don't fit in the regular stalls, so she uses the handicapped one. She then went on to say that when she sees a handicap person in there, she instructs her daughters to wait and let them use it first. The woman with the cart then said: "I didn't have a stroke to lose use of both legs and become incontenant for people like you who are never going to understand this until it happens to you. You are raising your daughters the wrong way. That stall is for us. It's not for you!" The women said to her "I put handicap people first, but you're mean because you are bitter."
One of the courtesy booth managers was in the ladies room when this took placel. Neither of us said anything. So I wonder what she was thinking. Not one of us wanted to escalate things.
There are two languages and points of view here. Many ambulatury people think that they can use the handicapped stall because they need the space. And they believe that if a handicapped person approaches the bathroom at the same time, they will let them use the stall first. They think that they are justified in this way of thinking. Whats wrong with this picture, is that they are not seeing the whole picture. In most cases, they aren't looking at the other side at all. The person with the wheelchair or other metal devices for their disability, such as a walker take space, plus many steps of manuerving to get around in them. In a lot of cases where incontinence is involved, this makes things even more challenging for them. That's why the handicapped stalls are sized, measured, fitted, and railed for those with manuerving challenges. When you do not need a walker or a wheelchair to get around, please save these stalls for those who do.
All votes, questions and comments are welcome.