Several years ago I used a public washroom (at a small movie theatre during low traffic hours) with two stalls, one regular and one handicap. One other person was in there, using the regular stall. I went into the handicap stall. While I was in there (maybe a minute or so, not long), I heard someone come in the door. When I came out of the stall, a little old lady with a walker snapped, “What are YOU doing in there? B*tch!”I was too surprised to say anything. I washed my hands and left. But this raises a question. I have never in my life heard of avoiding a handicapped bathroom stall for possible handicapped people needing to use it. I would absolutely never park in a handicapped parking spot. But a handicapped bathroom stall? I’ve told this story to others wondering if I missed some moral or ethical consideration and apparently I haven’t. They usually laugh at the idea of a little old lady swearing at me. I would avoid a handicapped stall in a bathroom with regular stalls available. But to avoid using an available handicapped stall if no one else needs it and all others are in use? 0311-13
As a holder of a handicapped parking placard and user of handicapped bathroom stalls, I can assure you that no one has a right to unobstructed, immediate access to any bathroom stall regardless of whether they are handicapped or not. That means sometimes handicapped users might have to wait their turn to use a stall just like everyone else may need to. The scenario you mention of two stalls, one regular and one handicapped, is a common sight in US restaurants and it is absolutely ridiculous to not utilize both stalls if there is no handicapped person obviously in need of it. Good heavens, what if Crabby Granny had walked into the bathroom to find the handicapped stall in use by another handicapped person? Pitch a fit because access wasn’t immediate?