This is my 300th post on this blog. I wanted to do something special to hopefully push my followers to the 100 mark. I want to talk about Ally's Law - The Restroom Access Act and the offenders I have found in my area. Yes, I'm actually going to list them.
The law is named for Ally Bain, a 14-year-old Illinois girl who suffered a flare-up of her Crohn's disease while shopping at a large retail store and was denied use of the employee-only restroom, causing her to soil herself. Bain's mother vowed it would never happen to anyone else. The two met with Illinois State Representative Kathy Ryg, helped her draft a bill, and testified before a committee at the state capital. The bill was signed into law in August 2005, making Illinois the first U.S. state to do so.
Ally Bain is my hero.
The Restroom Access Act, also known as Ally's Law, is legislation passed by several U.S. states that requires retail establishments that have "public" toilet facilities for their employees to allow customers to use the facilities if the customer suffers from an inflammatory bowel disease or other medical condition requiring immediate access to a toilet.
The Restroom Access Act has been passed in a total of 13 states - Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Washington. I live in Ohio and have gone to numerous places that had no clue as to what I was referring to when I mentioned Ally's Law and begged them to let me go to the bathroom. The problem is, I don't have time to explain. When I (and most others with IBD, IBS, etc) have to go it is right now, no time for negotiations.
I've decided to start a new twitter page that will link to my blog. It's going to be called Ally's Law Breakers. The most recent place I tried to "go" was the following gas station:
Valero Gas Station
201 Valley Street
Dayton, Ohio 45404
I politely asked to use their restroom. The lady said "We do not have public restrooms." I tried to explain the law and how they had to let me go, it was an emergency. She actually went back and asked her co-worker/boss (someone behind a door speaking in a foreign language). Then came back out and said "No." Just no. I just stood there debating about what to do. I really had to go so I had to leave and find somewhere else to go...fast!!
I fly off the handle a lot. I say I would do this or I would do that but when it comes down to it, I'm not going to drop my pants and poop on someone's floor. I'm scared and helpless and it's all out of my control. I just have to go to the bathroom. I'm not going to wipe feces all over the walls. I'm not going to urinate all over the room. I'm not going to steal anything or vandalize the property. I'm just going to do my business, clean up and leave. Why don't people get this? It's not a game. I wouldn't ask if it wasn't necessary.
So be on the lookout for Ally's Law Breakers and let me know if you have them in your area and live in one of the states that are supposed to uphold this law. I'm not afraid to post them on my blog. I'm not scared to get more people to understand what it's like to have Crohn's disease and other diseases that are not in your control. And give me your feedback. What do you think of these places? What situations have you been in?