Teenager Imogen was allegedly told to find public toilets, but didn’t make it in time
Emma Bryant, 43, was shopping with her daughter Imogen, 13, on July 23 she showed employees at the Southampton branch of White Stuff her Can’t Wait Card while asking to use their facilities.
Imogen Bryant, 13, soiled herself in public after shop staff allegedly refused to let her use the toilet
But Imogen, who suffers from Ulcerative Colitis, was allegedly refused and advised to find public toilets because there was stock at the back.
Emma and her daughter dashed to the nearest toilets but unfortunately didn’t make it in time and the teen suffered an embarrassing accident.
After the incident, the mum took to Facebook to expose about the “horrible” situation and her post was liked and shared almost 20,000 times.
Since the accountant’s post went viral, White Stuff admitted they had “let Imogen down”, promised to improve staff training and said they would make a donation to Crohn’s and Colitis UK.
Emma, from Rownhams, in Hampshire, said: “I was really angry and really upset for her. I worried for her confidence.
“I was trying to put a positive spin on it and I told her, ‘your worst fear happened but you coped and nobody knew.’
“Myself and my daughter are really pleased about the word spreading and it has become a good thing for the cause.
“I know it wasn’t a nice thing to happen but it really was a positive thing to come out of it. She is feeling good about it now after feeling awful.”
The following evening Emma went online to write about their unfortunate incident after being furious with how they were treated.
Her Facebook post read: “Absolutely disgusted with your Southampton store in West Quay after they refused to let my 13-year-old daughter, who suffers with Ulcerative Colitis, to use their toilets even after she bravely explained she had the disease, showed them her Can’t Wait Card and asked to use their staff toilets urgently.
“They refused as they said they had stock out the back and suggested she used the nearest public toilets. She therefore had no choice but to dash to the nearest facilities in John Lewis, but sadly and angry embarrassingly she had an accident as she couldn’t hold on.
“She was beyond mortified, as anyone would be, especially as she was only just building up her confidence with going out to public places as she is still struggling with a flare up so this huge knock back is the last thing she needed and her confidence has been destroyed.
“White Stuff in Southampton are the first store to refuse her to use their staff facilities when she has asked, showed her card and explained her illness.
“All other shops to date have been extremely sympathetic and understanding to her situation and constant struggle of living with this horrendous disease and shown her to their staff facilities without hesitation, so I am disgusted with your shop.”
The mum admits she hadn’t heard of the condition until Imogen was diagnosed at nine-years-old so now wants to spread the word.
Emma said: “I’m really pleased that a really horrible situation has helped people. My daughter is very pleased she’s raised awareness.
“She is just getting over this huge anxiety and to get out of the house but the positivity that has come out of it is outweighing the negativity.
“She is very passionate about this because it has had a massive effect on her life. She was nine when she was diagnosed.
“She has had to use the card quite a lot but she’s never had a problem before. She has had to skip queues before in public toilets and sometimes gets a few looks.
White Stuff in Southampton admitted they ‘let Imogen down’
“I didn’t know what the disease was or the impact it has until she was diagnosed.
“We have had such a positive response from the shop. They have done as much as they possibly can.
“They phoned me on the following Monday morning and they were very sympathetic. The person who made the call was distraught and upset about what had happened.
“They thanked me for bringing it to their attention and said that it is something they need to train their staff on.”
A spokesperson for White Stuff said: “Last week there was an incident in our Southampton shop, where a young girl was massively let down by us.
“We just want to share how sorry we are for what she experienced and completely understand the upset this has caused.
“We always strive to do our best by our customers and the people in our communities, as these are relationships that really matter to us.
“Over the last week we have had our eyes opened to invisible disabilities and are taking steps to educate our shop colleagues and ensure we support people who need it.
“We are working with Crohn’s and Colitis UK to create a training document that will be communicated to all shop teams.
“We have also made a donation to the charity to help them with their invaluable work.
“Whilst we appreciate this doesn’t undo what Emma’s daughter and her family went through, we hope these are positive steps towards raising awareness and preventing anything similar happening in the future.”
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