An elderly man on the verge of wetting his pants was denied use of a washroom at the Co-op gas bar on 22 Street in Saskatoon earlier this week, sparking outrage online.
Jenneffer Albert, 30, initially described the incident in a Facebook post, which went viral with more than 4,600 shares and over 100 comments.
She said she pulled up to the convenience store portion of the gas bar on Tuesday when she noticed an elderly man struggling to get his walker out of his vehicle. She held the store door open for him, after which he asked the staff if he could use their washroom. They said they didn’t have a public toilet, and after Albert protested a manager addressed the issue.
Albert says the manager told the elderly man Co-op would be fined by Occupational Health and Safety if he were allowed to use the staff washroom.
“The old man said ‘please, I’m going to pee my pants,'” Albert recounted. “They still denied him access to the washroom.”
An OHS official told CKOM News that there are no regulations prohibiting staff from exercising discretion in allowing customers to use their washroom.
Saskatoon Co-op addressed the situation in a Facebook post on Wednesday. They said the reason for the washroom closure was due to a “series of extremely dangerous incidents.”
“We made the decision to close the washrooms as the safety of Co-op employees and customers cannot be reasonably assured,” the post read.
Albert said when she spoke with the person in charge, the explanation was far more blunt. She said the manager told her the washrooms were closed to the public after staff found drug addicts with needles in their arms and needles on the ground.
But Albert says there was no doubt as to the state of the elderly man.
“You could clearly tell he wasn’t a drug addict,” she said. “Let him use it.”
Saskatoon Co-op says they’ve been in contact with the man, and after explaining the situation said he was understanding.