A disabled woman who said she was struck in the face by a broken fitting in a Tesco toilet is calling for awareness and change.
Natalie Goddard has been in a wheelchair for three years and suffers from chronic illnesses which mean she needs to have access to disabled facilities when she’s out and about.
But the incident in the toilet at Tesco Extra in Fishbourne Road, Chichester, has caused her to call on the supermarket giant to wake up and change.
Natalie, 27, of Bracklesham Bay, said: “I have been in my wheelchair for three years. It has been really tough getting my confidence back. I have been going into Tesco over the years and using their disabled facilities has been quite distressing.”
Natalie said they are often closed when she visits the store, and when they are open they often smell and are dirty. She added that she tries to avoid using the store’s facilities if she can help it because of this. But on Friday her mum asked her if she would mind popping by the store on their way home, and Natalie realised she needed the toilet and had no choice but to use the Tesco one.
Natalie said: “The toilet seat was broken, sliding about everywhere. Completely dangerous. I had to try and balance myself on the seat.”
But despite navigating this difficulty she said she was then hit by part of the toilet roll dispenser when she reached for it. She said upon further inspection it appeared to have been Sellotaped back together before it hit her.
When she told staff Natalie said they were intially not very understanding. “The lady at the checkout shot me a really filthy look,” she said.
Natalie said she got very worked up and began shouting and a customer started shouting at her.
“They are in no position, they do not know how degrading that feels.”
Natalie said she regrets picking up a card machine and throwing it, after which security had to be called. She said the manager came to speak to her and admitted he had never looked in the disabled toilets before.Natalie is calling for better awareness of the need for good, clean disabled facilities. “How can a superstore have a toilet like that?”
A Tesco spokesperson said: “We would like to apologise to Mrs Goddard for the experience she had using our disabled facilities. We have fixed the maintenance issues and will regularly inspect the facilities to maintain high standards for all our customers.”