If the Accessible Stall is the Only One Available, Should I Use It?

Jul 06, 2018

Anonymous asks, quote:

Can I ask a question about abled people using the handicapped stall in bathrooms? I’m abled, and I was always taught that if the other stalls are free, to use those, but if there’s a long line to help it move faster by using the handicapped stall too. If that’s a bad idea, could you tell me a little more about why?

end quote.

Great question! I know for a lot of able‐bodied folks the whole “don’t use the handicapped stall” is confusing, especially in the situation where all the other stalls are occupied.

It all comes down to demand vs. actual need. Let’s take your long‐line scenario and tweak it a bit. Let’s say you’re in that long line of people waiting for the restroom, but, out of 8 stalls in the entire restroom, you are only able to use the very last stall in the back (it is specially designed to accommodate your medical needs).

As time passes, each stall becomes available except for the only one in the back that you need. Everyone else was able to meet their needs and leave while you’re stuck waiting by the sink for the one person to exit the stall you need.

To top it all off, the person in that stall doesn’t actually need to use it in the same way you do.

Can you see how frustrating that is? Despite this restroom having ample space for everyone else, as far as your concerned, this bathroom (and every bathroom you will ever visit) only has one stall and it’s constantly in use by people who don’t need it. You have either awkwardly wait in the restroom or constantly check back.

I hope I was able to answer your question. Please feel free to reach out if you need me to clarify something else.

Side Note: my experience with restrooms is based on using men’s restrooms where, when someone goes into a stall, they aren’t likely to come out very quickly. The situation may be different in women’s restrooms.