Image Courtesy: MenMedia
When a bus station attendant refused to allow her to use the accessible restrooms, a 15-year-old autistic teenager with severe anxiety burst into tears. Millie Collins of Manchester alleges the attendant informed her she didn’t appear handicapped enough since she wasn’t in a wheelchair. However, the adolescent was wearing a lanyard with a sunflower, indicating that she had a hidden handicap. Millie is a disabled person who has autism, fetal alcohol syndrome, and severe anxiety.
She told the Media that the event at the Shudehill bus stop in Manchester city center at approximately 5.30 pm on Tuesday made her feel embarrassed. According to Millie, the staff member eventually succumbed and unlocked the handicapped bathrooms after a lengthy exchange while still protesting about her apparent lack of disability. Officials from the Department of Transportation have apologized for not meeting the anticipated standards.’
When she wanted to use the facilities at Shudehill bus station after a shopping excursion into Manchester with a friend, she requested a member of staff to open the handicapped bathrooms for her.
“I requested respectfully, and they replied ‘no,'” she explained.
“‘Well, you don’t appear handicapped enough,’ they replied.
“I informed them I had autism and that I had special needs.”
“And, I couldn’t utilize it because they wouldn’t let me.” I showed them the lanyard I was wearing around my neck, which concealed my handicap. I started sobbing because they were so nasty.
“I told them I had severe anxiety and that going inside the little stalls causes me to have panic episodes.” I also showed them my bus pass for disabled people.
“All they did was yell at me that I didn’t appear handicapped enough.” I was courteous, and they only allowed me in because I began arguing back.
“Even when they unlocked the door, they continued and stated, ‘You’re probably lying.'”
“‘Why would I lie?’ I asked.”
Millie said that when she received her bus ticket, she was given a key to the handicapped bathrooms but that she had never used it and was at home at the time of the event.
“I was extremely unhappy about that,” she continued. It wasn’t very comfortable.
“I was mistreated horribly. There was no need for it in the first place. I don’t think they realized how damaging that might be to someone. I’m apprehensive about traveling to town right now.”
Wendy, Millie’s grandma, and legal guardian have filed a formal complaint with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).
She stated,” “It’s revolting. She had the lanyard and bus pass, but no one believed her. It does bring up the fact that people have impairments other than physical ones. There are several persons with impairments who do not need a wheelchair.”
“I am sorry for the experience this client had with us at Shudehill Interchange and for any discomfort caused,” TfGM’s head of facilities management Howard Hartley, said.
“We work hard to ensure that everyone can safely, confidently, and independently utilize our bus terminals and interchanges, and we joined the Sunflower initiative last year to help individuals with hidden impairments even more.”
“Unfortunately, we did not fulfill the expectations on this occasion, and we have reminded employees of our regulations about facility usage.”
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