‘You Look OK to Me’
“You look OK to me.”
He stood, towering over me, his big belly billowing from his shirt as he straightened up and lifted his chin, glaring down at me over folded arms.
I swallowed. Anxiety rushed through me. What am I going to do? I was desperate for the loo, and if he didn’t let me in, I was about to pee my pants!
“You look OK to me,” the bouncer said again, looking me up and down.
“Look,” I said firmly, getting frustrated but trying to keep my cool, “I just told you, I have a condition called multiple sclerosis. I’ve walked from the train station to this bar so I can write an article for the MS Society. I’m here with them for the Masta Ace gig [he was performing that night]. My legs are very weak from walking, and the regular toilets are down a load of stairs. Stairs I will struggle to walk down and not get back up again. I’m worried I’ll collapse. I need a wee. Please let me use the accessible toilet. I’ll be two seconds.”
“Nah, I don’t know, I mean, you look OK to me,” he snarked in his London accent.
I could not believe this was happening.
“Are you serious?” I exclaimed.
“The regular toilets are downstairs,” he replied bluntly.
“I know! Oh, for God’s sake, what do you want to see? My MRI scans? My disabled badge? I just need a wee, or do you like mopping floors?!” I shouted angrily. “Let me speak to your manager.”
“Fine, I’ll let you in this time, but next time I might not be so nice.”
I shook my head and muttered under my breath, “You weren’t so charming this time, mate!”
Who does he think he is?
My best guess is that he feels like a failure in life for being the appointed “toilet bouncer” of the bar and he was probably taking it out on me. I always try to analyze why people do the things they do; it’s just who I am and it gives me a better understanding of people.
Why else would he act so entitled? I understand him having to swerve abled people who use the disabled toilet instead of walking down the stairs — everyone can get lazy sometimes — but actively saying no to a person who’s just told you they have a medical condition? That’s a big no-no.
The thing is, something like this has happened more than once. I get it: I don’t “look” sick and appreciate that people don’t know any different. We need more education on how to treat others because it affects us mentally.
I often have mild symptoms, fatigue being one of them. I don’t always use my disabled permit or an accessible toilet, only when I really need to. Even then I’m scared someone will say something.
Have you ever experienced judgment like this?
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.