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Setting The Wheels Of Comeuppance Into Motion

, , , , , , , | Friendly | November 23, 2019

(I require a wheelchair to get around, so I need to use the handicapped-accessible stalls when using the bathroom. On this particular day, I am visiting a building to drop off some paperwork when I feel the need to go, and I am pleasantly surprised to discover that the restrooms in the building have a generously-sized handicapped-accessible stall, giving me plenty of room to wheel in and get myself settled as I transfer over to the toilet. Right after I’ve gotten myself situated, there is a sudden banging on the stall door.)

Me: “Occupied, sorry!”

(I hear the lady on the other side scoff.)

Lady: “This is handicapped only!”

Me: *trying to be a bit jovial* “Yep. That’s me.”

Lady: “No! You can’t just take the stall from those who need it. People with actual handicaps need that stall; you can’t just take it because you want more space!”

Me: “I’m not. I—”

(She cuts me off to shout some more, so I simply settle in to do my business and ignore her, as I’m certainly not going to transfer back over to my chair and open the door just to prove that I actually “deserve”  the stall. After a bit, she stomps out, and I think that is the end of it. However, right as I am finishing up, I hear her come back in, talking to someone else.)

Lady: “–do something. Those of us with actual disabilities need those stalls! You see, right there. Some brat’s in there, taking up the stall.”

(I’m forty-nine, but I guess I should be flattered that my voice apparently sounds so young.)

Other Lady: “Ma’am, I’m not in charge of the restrooms. I just—”

(At that point, I’d gotten myself settled back into my chair, so I gave the toilet a good flush and then opened the stall door. The look on that lady’s face when she saw me in my chair was priceless. She gaped for a few moments and then just spun and scurried out of the restroom. The other lady, who I think was a secretary for one of the offices nearby, just looked confused, like maybe she was being pranked. I suppose that maybe the woman did have an invisible disability that requires the use of a handicapped stall. However, if that was the case, I’d hope that she’d be more sympathetic to the need to not judge people on whether they need assistance or not.)

This story is part of our Invisible Disability roundup!

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