Thursday, 21 April 2016

The right to use the Accessible Loo

Yesterday, at a hotel, I needed the loo. The disabled toilet was locked. I waited about 30 seconds, but hadn't heard any sound from inside.

I have previously waited for 20 minutes outside an accessible loo only to discover that staff had locked it, but not put an 'out of order sign' up - not an experience I want to repeat. I also worry that someone could have collapsed in there.

So I knocked.

"I'll just be a moment!"

Good. Someone was in there, I wasn't waiting in vain. My bladder wasn't at 'exploding' point, so all was well.

The door opened and a tall woman, with dark hair came out.

"I'm sorry." She said. "I'm so sorry, but you see I've had my spine fused, so I need the grab rails to be able to stand up again, I'm so sorry!"

My heart broke a little inside.

How many stares and how many harsh judgments had she faced to make that quick explanation be the automatic response to a friendly smile? That she felt she should apologise for using the very facilities she is entitled to use?

How many times had people arrogantly questioned her - or even been verbally abusive because she used facilities designed for her and necessary for her health?

"It's OK" I said. "You are supposed to use it!"

And I gave one of these key fobs (available from

Her face filled with relief, and after a brief chat we went our separate ways.

Don't get me wrong, I love my job.

But sometimes I really wish it wasn't needed.

1 comment:

  1. I don't often need to use accessible toilets (although sometimes I can't stand long enough to wait for the other toilets - I'm still grappling with that one) but the last time I should have, I didn't have the courage. The other toilets were up stairs, with the disabled toilet on the same level as me. To my regret, I didn't use the disabled toilet - and wore myself out completely on the stairs. Other days I'd have had the courage, but not always - if I'd had something like this keyring, it would have been easier, much less painful and exhausting! It's definitely on my list of next purchases :)


Feel free to comment, but please note that any offensive or inappropriate comments - including advertising - will be moderated.