It’s important to remember that we can’t know everything there is to know about a person just by looking at them.
This is especially true for each person’s physical and mental health, since many symptoms do not visibly present, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor LLVVVV had a history of having to have her colon removed, which led to her having an Ileostomy bag and a stoma, which were easier to attend to in an accessible restroom stall.
Because her disability is not obvious, another woman blocked her into the stall, to the point that the Original Poster (OP) felt the need to publicly call the woman out on her misinformed state.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for being rude to a woman who yelled at me for using the disabled toilet?”
The OP had what was considered to be an “invisible disability.”
“I have an Ileostomy. This means that I have had my colon removed and I have a stoma. This is on my stomach and it’s where my poop comes out from into an attached bag.”
“You usually can’t see it, and it doesn’t look as though I have any kind of disability (although it is legally classed as a disability).”
Because of this, the OP needed access to the disabled restroom stalls.
“To empty it, I need to kneel by the toilet and I rinse it out with water. I fill a travel bottle up in the toilet and use this to rinse out the bag. Not rinsing is gross!”
“Because of needing to kneel and have water on hand, I need to use the disabled toilets whenever I can. I have a radar key to get me into them; it was given to me after I had my surgery.”
“Using a non-disabled toilet is very difficult. Hard to kneel, with very little privacy, and no sink on hand.”
But one woman decided she knew better than the OP what she needed.
“Today I was at M&S (Mark and Spencer’s store) and had to empty my bag, so I used the disabled toilet as usual. (FYI: Almost all disabled toilets have signs on them that say ‘Not all disabilities are visible!’)”
“When I tried to come out of the toilet, my way was blocked by a woman who started to berate me for using the disabled toilet.”
“Apparently, she saw me go in and had been waiting for me to come out. She was stopping me from leaving and threatening to call the staff.”
“I tried to tell her that I need to use that toilet and showed her my special radar key.”
“She just kept getting angrier and angrier and louder and louder. We had a crowd by this time!”
The OP told the other woman the harsh truth.
“In desperation, I finally pulled up my shirt and slid my trousers down a bit, and showed her my Ileostomy bag.”
“I pointed out the sign on the door that said not all disabilities are visible, and I told her she was ignorant and needed to learn to mind her own business.”
“I then told her to eff off and get out of my way.”
“Was I the a**hole for being so rude? I know I should have been nicer, but she would not stop blocking me in the toilet.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some agreed with the OP that the woman needed to mind her own business.
“You should not have been nicer at all. Her behavior did not warrant nicer. Her behavior warranted exactly what she got.”
“Why should you explain your disability to her? It is zero business of hers. Who does she think she is to stand outside of a disabled toilet and assume? As the sign said, not all disabilities are visible.”
“She is not the disability police to stand waiting to harass you for using a facility you need, and are entitled to use without having to explain to people like that. NTA.” – Dogmother123
“I hate these people who just assume. They want to be a ‘hero,’ but they’re just jerks and often time people like you who have invisible disabilities often get berated and yelled at for no reason…”
“People, MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!” – Mellow_Melon_
“NTA. First of all, it is NOT illegal for a non-handicapped person to use a handicapped toilet. You are supposed to give preference to the handicapped person, but, if all the stalls are taken and no handicapped person is waiting for it, you can use it. This is a pet peeve of mine, sorry.”
“Second of all, not all handicaps are visible or permanent; i.e., a broken leg will heal but in the meantime, the handicap stall is easier to use.”
“Finally, it is nobody’s business. She’s not the handicapped police. You didn’t owe her an explanation or proof. I would have simply told her to f-off and left. Don’t sweat it.” – mamasqueeks
“NTA. She’s in the same category as old people who are furious when a young person legitimately parks in a disabled bay. People like that need a dressing down in public. Well done.” – SpaceWolves26
“NTA. I have a permanent ileostomy, and I am absolutely fed up with getting looks when I use the disabled toilets. I literally get glared at going in and when leaving. I, like you, just lift my top a bit, show the person, and walk off.”
“It doesn’t upset me, but it’s just getting very tiresome it happening every time.”
“I also have severe Arthritis and osteoporosis and so have a blue disabled parking badge. Recently, my husband who was driving (me in the passenger seat), was interrogated as to why he was parking in the disabled bay.”
“He told the guy to mind his own business and what was it to him… But I get stared at whenever I park in a spot, too… It’s very annoying, honestly.”
“So ultimately, it’s the people who are being judgemental a**holes… not us!” – Spirit_Sky7
Others found the other woman to be incredibly threatening and problematic.
“NTA. You don’t need to be nice to someone who is being rude to you first. Full stop.”
“She was aggressive, blocking your exit, screaming at you, and threatening to call an authority figure over her perceived slight.”
“You shouldn’t have had to show her your disability for her to believe you. She was an entitled a**hole who needs to learn to mind her own business. Your disability is no one’s business but your own.”
“I’m sorry you had to go through that. You did nothing wrong. Standing up for yourself, even the way you did it, is not being rude. Especially when the person you had to defend yourself from wouldn’t calmly listen to you.” – UhaRugger1
“NTA. Good heavens, what a rude person that lady is to think that blocking someone into a bathroom stall is even acceptable! And then demeaning you on top of it! Yikes! I applaud your patience and many attempts at decency before resorting to exposing your medical condition like that.”
“I had a friend years ago who also had [one], and I learned a lot from her. So much delicate care! Anyway, rest assured you are in no way at fault in this scenario. Blessings to you!” – ConfusableFraggle
“NTA. That woman got exactly what she was asking for. She was rude, uncouth, and ignorant. The only thing you did was highlight how big of an entitled AH she was being.”
“I too have an invisible disability and it’s hard when people want to judge just by what they can see. The disability toilet is for ALL disabilities, and in many places, I’ve gone, it’s also where the baby changing station happens to be located.” – Babbyjgraham
“Honestly, I hate people like this. One of my sh*ttier encounters was also in an M&S, where someone had seen me, decided I don’t look disabled, and gone to town.”
“I don’t know what narrative these people have in their heads, whether or not they think they’re standing up for disabled people by being absolute d**ks. They’re not, not at all, they’re just showing their ignorance.”
“You were absolutely not the AH for standing up for yourself. This lady was a bully and was trying to intimidate you.” – SeekingBeskar
“NTA. I’m sorry you felt you had to reveal that much about yourself to a stranger in public. You never should have needed to. That woman was so disgustingly out of line.”
“You weren’t rude. You were cornered, harassed, and did what you needed to do.”
“I really don’t understand the growing obsession with policing people’s bathroom usage.” – reysayshey
The subReddit was unanimously in favor of the OP for standing up for herself and for insisting that the other woman start to mind her own business about other people’s disabilities and how they utilize public spaces.
It was terrible the OP even had to go through this, and the encounter was certainly intimidating, but it seemed the OP could hold her own, even if she shouldn’t have had to.