Alfie the Elf taken to his bed and will not even look up. He is devastated. He is embarrassed and doesn’t want to go out any more.
Alfie went to Sainsbury’s Superstore in Penzance, choosing it because it is a great store with wide aisles – nice and spacious for moving about in his wheelchair.
Shopping followed by a mince pie and a drink in the cafe seemed a great idea but elves are not good at limiting their intake of mince pies and drinks (possibly stemming from helping Santa on Christmas Eve) and, before long, Alfie needed to “go”.
No worries, he said, there are toilets upstairs and down in this particular supermarket – they understand the need for plenty of facilities for all.
Except, they didn’t have facilities for all.
Alfie the Elf is disabled and needs toilets with a hoist. He left the house fully prepared with his toileting sling, unable to understand that the UK just doesn’t have the facilities he is used to. “Why would anyone deliberately ignore the needs of so many? Nobody wants to be on the naughty list” were his words.
Alfie dashed to the toilets and was shocked to be unable to find ones which he could use.
He was even more hurt to discover that the ‘baby changing room’ was more than twice the size of the disabled toilet that he couldn’t use.
We raced home as fast as we could. But it was not fast enough.
Poor Alfie was mortified. Wet trousers and a wet wheelchair in public is simply too much for an Elf to bear. Appearance matters to an Elf – you never know when someone will want a photo taken with you, and the work of an Elf is vital – representing Santa is such an important job. People judge Elves on their appearance and nobody wants to sit near an elf who smells of wee, or worse!
Alfie’s wheelchair was wet too, which meant he could not go out for tea with friends as planned. He was stuck at home till his wheelchair cushion and straps were clean and dry.
And now he feels hopeless.
If this happened to you, wouldn’t you be devastated too?
Can you imagine the horror of people looking at you, staring, pointing, sniffing the air?
How would you face the next day? Would you be able to go back to the store where it happened or would you be certain that everyone would remember you as the one who wet yourself? And what if it had been more than a wee?
Alfie’s story is not an isolated one. Sadly, it happens to disabled people every day.
All it takes is the simple addition of two pieces of equipment to transform the lives of Elves like Alfie. A ceiling hoist and an adult changing table are easy to install, and can be done with no disruption to the store.
We will be contacting the manager of Sainsbury’s Superstore in Penzance to ask them to make sure that no other Elf or person has to endure this indignity. All they need is a Changing Places style toilet to make sure everyone is treated properly.
Maybe you would like to share this information with them too? One Elf can’t always get his voice heard, but many voices together will be hard to ignore.
Please also help by signing this petition to ask supermarkets to include everyone.
Sainsbury’s Penzance, you are (sadly) on the naughty list. Please remember that there is room for everyone on the nice list.