Last evening I met up at a local McDonald’s restaurant with an interpreter friend. Naturally, I took Kolya along to have his evening ice cream. As my friend and I were chatting, he needed to use the restroom. The first time he asked I convinced him to wait until we got home. However, about fifteen minutes later he asked again.
I gave in and took him. First, I slightly opened the door to the woman’s restroom to make certain the coast was clear. No little girls, no teenage girls, and only one lady washing her hands. Kolya did as he had been taught and walked with eyes focused forward to the larger handicapped stall. No problem that I could foresee. As soon as he finished, we returned to our table and I continued my discussion with my friend.
Suddenly my friend sort of twitched, clenched her teeth, and diverted her eyes from me. At the same time Kolya turned around to look behind him. I turned but didn’t see any commotion behind me. I was in the dark until my friend told me there was a lady on the other side of the restaurant yelling about bringing that boy into the restroom. I’d never have known any of this was taking place had my friend not told me. My back was toward the lady and I couldn’t hear the screaming.
As the lady left McDonald’s she continued her rant with probably loud words, “You need to tell me to my face you are bringing a boy into the lady’s room.” I’m sure she was saying some other things as well which I didn’t catch. I know I replied with a statement along the line of trying to use the restroom by yourself if you had no arms.
Well, my friend got a good taste of what it is like to be in public with a physically challenged adult of the opposite gender as the caregiver. I think my friend was more upset than me. My only concern was that Kolya had to hear what this lady was saying. It’s happened before and I’m sure it will happen again during my lifetime.
Can you imagine the reaction if I had taken him into the men’s restroom and there were men using wall-hung urinals without stalls? I’d probably be arrested for being a female “peeping tom”.