Change The Stall, And Their Attitudes

, , , , , , | Friendly | March 15, 2019

(I have a disability that is invisible quite a lot of the time but does mean that I need to use the accessible toilet when out in public. I’ve come directly from work to meet a friend for dinner and I’m still wearing my uniform. I walk through the back half of the dining room to use the restroom, passing a table of four women on the way, one of whom has a baby in her lap. This occurs a moment after I’ve sat down.)

Someone: *rattles door*

Me: “Occupied.”

Someone: *knock knock knock knock*

Me: “Yes, just one moment.”

(I complete my business and leave the stall to find nobody there. As I am finishing washing my hands, the lady holding the baby comes into the bathroom with a female manager. The female manager asks if I was just using the accessible stall and I confirm that I was. I suspect at this point I know where this was going — those of us with invisible disabilities face this nonsense regularly — but I really have no clue the turn it will take.)

Manager: “In the future, please leave that stall for those who need it. It also has the changing table, and this lady—” *points to the woman with the baby, who is silently but visibly seething* “—needed to change her baby.”

Me: “I needed it, actually.” *gives boring medical history*

Manager: *looking surprised* “Oh, I’m sorry. Of course—“

Woman:No!  Do not apologize to her! I needed to change my baby!

Manager: “Ma’am, she had a reason to use that stall. We—”

Woman: *sneering and turning red in the face* “THAT STALL IS FOR MOTHERS! SHE’S OBVIOUSLY NOT A MOTHER! LOOK! SHE WORKS!” *gestures toward my uniform*

(As someone who has always wanted children and can’t have them, that is enough for me, and I walk out while the manager is still trying to calm the woman down. I have to pass the table with the woman’s three friends, who stare at me as I am passing. Just as I get past the one sitting on the far side, she gets brave.)

Woman #2: “Yeah, she needed that changing table.”

Me: *completely done, stopping dead and walking back to a table of women who are now all tense and not so smug* “AND I NEEDED THE ACCESSIBLE STALL, SO MAYBE TELL THE RESTAURANT TO TAKE THE CHANGING TABLE OUT OF THE STALL AND PUT IT ON THE WALL ACROSS FROM THE SINKS!”

(I walked back to my table, where my friend jokingly asked if I’d fallen in, as I’d been gone so long and he had no idea what had happened. We paid our tab and left. Two months later, when I returned to the restaurant, the changing table had been moved out of the accessible stall.)

Riding You The Wrong Way

, , , , , , | Friendly | March 15, 2019

(I am in high school. I play basketball and often travel to different cities within my province for games. Towards the end of the season, I injure one of my knees and can’t play the end-of-season championship. I still want to travel and see my team play, but as the bus is overcrowded, and my dad has planned to come to see our games even if I am injured, I am going to make the ten-hour travel with him in his truck. The mother of one of my teammates asks my father if she and her eleven-year-old son can travel with us. My dad accepts, and we agree that we will pick her up from the elementary school where she works at 4:00 pm. At 4:00 pm, she’s not there. At 4:15 pm:)

Me: “That is ridiculous. Why is she taking so long?”

Dad: “Maybe she had some kind of trouble. Let’s wait a bit more.”

Me: “Yeah, but if she was going to take longer, she could just come and see us and tell us how long it will be.”

(This is before cell phones.)

Dad: “I know. It’s bugging me, too, but I agreed to give her a ride, so let’s wait a bit more.”

(She finally comes out of the school at around 4:30 pm.)

Friend’s Mother: “Oh, I’m sorry for keeping you waiting. I had to wait for a student’s mother, and then we took a few minutes to catch up. But now we just need to go to my place to get my son and our bags and we’re all set!”

(Okay, it was bugging us that we had to wait while she “caught up,” but at least it’s over. Or so we thought… Once we pull over into her parking, she says…)

Friend’s Mother: “Okay, I just need a few minutes to get our things.”

(So, we wait… and wait… Soon, it’s 5:15 pm, more than an hour after we were initially supposed to leave.)

Me: “Let’s just leave. We waited long enough.”

Dad: “That wouldn’t be nice. I’ll just go and see what this is all about.”

(And so he goes. He comes back two minutes later, visibly fuming.)

Me: “What’s going on?”

Dad: “You’re not going to believe it. Not only was their luggage not ready, but they were rooting through emails so she could find the address of her brother they’re going to stay with! They were not ready at all!”

Me: “So, we leave now?”

Dad: “No, they’re coming. They had their coats on.”

(Finally, two minutes later, they’re in, but I just cannot understand how she feels it is okay to make us wait for over an hour, when we are the ones to give them a ride. The road is long, and once we are close to our destination, we get lost, thanks to my father. My father finally figures out where we are and drives us to our hotel.)

Friend’s Mother: “Why are we going to the hotel? You need to give me a ride to my brother’s place first! It’s in [Suburb].”

Dad: “Listen, I don’t know this city very well, but I know your brother lives on the other side of town. It’s about 3:00 am, and I’m not going anywhere. Take a taxi.”

(Later, he told this story to other players’ parents and learned that she had pulled off similar stunts with most of them, so they all refused to give her any more rides. My basketball team got eliminated from the championship on the first day, so she expected us to leave soon after. My father stayed a day and a half longer and watched every game of the championship, just to spite her.)

Hips Don’t Lie, And They’re Telling Me She’s A B****

, , , , | Friendly | March 14, 2019

(I have bad hips due to working too hard as a mail deliverer, meaning I had to quit my job and can only take desk jobs now. My bad hips are worst in winter, but in summer I can be lucky and have less pain. I take the tram home and it’s rush hour. A woman and I both enter the tram at the same time via different doors and reach a single empty chair. I reach it slightly before her. Since my hips are being nice to me, I decide to stand for a while and offer this seat to the sweet old lady before me.)

Me: “Feel free to take this seat, ma’am.”

Lady: “You’d better! I was here first!”

Me: *ticked off* “Well, pardon me for offering you this seat, ma’am!”

(The old lady huffs while she sits down and I take a standing spot. And what do you know, my hips start acting up and the pain slowly increases with time. Meanwhile, the old lady keeps on staring at me, giving me a stink eye. After a few stops, a seat finally empties and I can take that seat. A few stops after that, the old lady leaves, but not before stopping at my seat.)

Lady: “Well, are you sitting nicely now, at your own little seat?!”

Me: “Ma’am, this is saying more about you than it does about me.”

Lady: “Yes, it does! It says you are a rude little b****! You must be very proud of yourself!”

(She leaves the tram in a huff.)

Other Woman: “What was that all about?!”

Me: “Oh, I offered my seat to her and she told me off.”

Other Woman: “Pwah! She’s lucky she even had a chair! If she was this rude to me, I would have taken that chair and let her stand. Would’ve probably taught her some humility!”

The Golden Rule

, , , , , | Friendly | March 14, 2019

(I have had platinum blonde hair for all of my childhood and right into my mid-late 20s. In this story, I am sixteen and my friend is fourteen. We are travelling to school on the bus one morning.)

Friend: *randomly* “You know, your hair isn’t blonde. It’s too pale.”

Me: “Okay, if you say so. What colour is it, then?”

Friend: “I don’t know, but it isn’t blonde.”

Me: “Well, if it isn’t blonde, what is it? Is it black?”

Friend: “No.”

Me: “Is it red?

Friend: “No.”

Me: “Is it brunette?”

Friend: “No.”

Me: “Are you saying you think my hair is white?”

Friend: “No, it’s not that pale.”

Me: “So, it must be blonde.”

Friend: “No! I told you! It’s too pale!”

Me: “Soooo, what colour is it, then?”

Friend: “I. Don’t. Know. It’s just too pale to be blonde.”

Me: *smirking* “Okay, whatever.”

(I didn’t bother arguing with her anymore since I was familiar with her intransigent nature. However, being only a mere teenager, I did have a giggle with mutual friends about her claim later on.)

Not Up-Lifting Examples Of Humanity

, , , , , | Friendly | March 13, 2019

One summer I fell over quite badly, resulting in a severely sprained ankle. For about two months I was on crutches, with my lower left leg encased in a solid, bulky, black boot for support and protection. I had physio appointments at the city centre hospital, after which I usually went to the food court in the shopping centre on my way home.

This shopping centre has two main levels with stairs, escalators, and lifts between them both. The food court is on the first floor, overlooking an entertainment and display area on the ground floor. I couldn’t handle stairs at that time, for obvious reasons, and I was wary of trying to go up the escalators on crutches, as well. This meant I had to use the lifts, an experience I usually try to avoid.

One time, I went to the lift nearest the entrance where I came into the shopping centre. I was tired and wanted to sit down, and I knew there were seats near the lift upstairs. There were about half a dozen parents with pushchairs waiting to use a lift that can carry four at a time, so I knew I’d have to wait. The first group went up, and while waiting for it to come back down another pair of pushchair-wielding mothers joined us.

When the lift opened again, these new arrivals physically pushed me out of the way in order to get in the lift first. “Mothers before cripples,” one announced, with the other rebutting, “She’s probably faking it, anyway.” The lift was gone before I could get back up off the floor.

On another post-physio visit, I decided to use the lift nearer the food court. Like the other lift, it can hold four pushchairs with accompanying adults. There was only one pushchair waiting when I limped over. The lift arrived, disgorged its occupants, and the man with the pushchair got in and immediately turned the pushchair sideways across the entrance. He was completely blocking it, preventing me from getting in the lift myself. He didn’t explain himself or say anything; he just blocked me from getting into the lift so he could have it to himself.

After those two incidents, I started coming into the centre via the street entrance of one of the shops, and using their lifts to get up to the first floor instead of hoping that the centre lifts would be usable first time.

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