I usually only share stories I’ve witnessed, but my co-worker told me this one immediately after it happened, and it’s too good to keep to myself.
On one side of the building are two doors. Each door opens to a wheelchair accessible room housing a pit toilet. The doors remain unlocked unless someone goes into the room and locks the door behind him/herself.
Next to each door is a sign. Each sign has the word “Restroom” on it, as well as pictures to communicate the restroom’s suitability for all genders, as well as folks who use wheelchairs or other devices to help with mobility limitations.
On the other side of the building is one door, which remains locked unless someone with a key (me, my co-worker, our boss) unlocks it. My old boss called the area behind the door the “B room,” and my new boss calls it the “breezeway.” It’s essentially a small storage room where we keep cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and extra day passes. There is no sign of any kind outside the B room.
One Friday, my co-worker walked down to the building in the middle of the parking lot to do the midmorning cleaning of the restrooms. He went over to the side with the door to the B room to get the supplies he needed. As he approached the door, he saw a woman or middle age leaning on the door to the B room. She was slumped over and mumbling to herself. When she saw my co-worker heading in her direction, she told him, Somebody’s been in there a long time!
My co-worker had to bear to her the bad news that no one was ever going to come out of the room, that, in fact, there was no toilet in the room. He escorted her around to the other side of the building where her urgency impressed the people in the queue, and everyone agreed to allow her to jump to the head of the line.
I took the photos in this post.