I know that you mean well by adding your new sign to the toilet doors but I want you to understand just how hurtful it is to my son.
It must be terrible to have people look at you with judgement in their eyes simply because they don’t think you look “disabled enough” to use that hallowed room with the wheelchair logo on the door. There are many reasons people might need to use these facilities and it is great to increase understanding of that.
My son is a full time wheelchair user who cannot stand unaided, not even for a second, but he totally accepts that there are less obvious disabilities which may mean that a person needs to use the toilet with the wheelchair logo on the door.
What he finds impossible to understand is why you do not want to see him.
Because you have chosen not to see him, despite us first writing to you over a year ago.
One year ago we wrote to both the store manager at Tesco Extra, Pool, Cornwall and to their Community Team, which does great work helping local groups and disadvantaged people in the nearby community.
We are still awaiting a response.
I totally understand that making changes to help disabled people who need a Changing Places style toilet is a bit more difficult than just putting up a sign, but it is nowhere near as difficult as being unable to access a toilet when you go out for lunch and shopping with friends.
Putting up these signs helps a lot of people feel more comfortable about using that toilet when they need to and that is a good thing, but if I needed the toilet and was desperate I would rush in to ANY toilet and use it. Better to have an unkind stare than soiled clothes, after all!
My son does not have that choice. If he can’t hold on, he will end up with soiled clothes and potentially a damaged wheelchair cushion.
And he will have to sit there, dealing with the stares, the comments, and the smell, till he gets home.
Believe me, that is so far beyond “difficult” that I can’t even put it into appropriate words.
My son isn’t asking for anything special, just a usable toilet so that he can go out shopping and stay for lunch, just like his friends can.
Sometimes you need to do things slightly differently so that every customer can be treated equally.
Please make a reasonable adjustment so that my son can be treated equally, and kindly. He is a person too.
Mum to Adam
P.S. It is Adam’s birthday this month and he will be 11. It would make him very happy if I could tell him that his favourite store “big Tesco” cared enough to make it possible for him to shop without fear.
A little reminder of your “mission statement” and “values”?
‘Serving shoppers a little better every day.’
• No one tries harder for customers
• We treat people how they want to be treated
• Every little help makes a big difference
My son has made it clear how he wishes to be treated.
He needs a simple addition to your toilet facilities, without it he risks a horrible experience each time he visits.