Nasty encounters at toilets for those with disabilities

I agree with Disabled People's Association president Nicholas Aw that the prevalent abuse of facilities for people with disabilities is lamentable ("Selfish behaviour in abusing disabled facilities"; last Thursday).

This is especially so in the case of toilets meant for the disabled.

My sister uses a wheelchair but on numerous occasions, she has had to wait outside the toilet until the occupant - an able-bodied person - emerged.

Some had the grace to look abashed. Others were nastier.

Once, the toilet occupant was a security guard of the mall . She chided us for harassing her when she would be coming out in due course. Surely, a mall security guard should be more mindful and not abuse the mall's facilities.

A woman scolded our maid for "banging on the door" when she was inside. A man took his time to saunter out of the toilet and said he was also handicapped when I pointed out the toilet was meant for the handicapped. Sometimes, the toilets reek of cigarette smoke.

Another problem we have is that these toilets are sometimes locked and we have to search for a cleaner or guard to unlock them.

There have also been cases where the previous user pressed the door lock on the way out, and the door could not be opened from the outside without a key. At some coffee shops and foodcourts, such toilets have become store rooms.

Tan Lan Eng (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2016, with the headline 'Nasty encounters at toilets for those with disabilities'. Print Edition | Subscribe