Woman with Crohn’s disease humiliated after Zara staff refuse to let her use loo

A woman who suffers from Crohn’s disease was left humiliated when staff at a Zara store refused to let her use a toilet when she was desperate.

Vicky Prime was diagnosed with chronic bowel condition in 2013 which often leaves her needing the toilet urgently.

The 32-year was out in Birmingham when she claims a member of staff in the clothing store said they didn’t have a toilet she could use when she was caught short.

It meant she had to dash to the nearest toilets – only just making it in time.

Since her experience a fortnight ago, bosses at Zara have apologised – and say it has contacted the Crohn’s Society for advice, which they have since talked through with staff to raise awareness of the condition, reports the Burton Mail.

Vicky used to have a stoma bag, a pouch that allows faeces or urine to be collected, fit but that was removed last year and her small bowel and colon have since been reconnected but it isn’t all working properly yet and sometimes leaves her needing the toilet quickly.

Crohn’s disease is a lifelong condition which sees parts of the digestive system become inflamed. This means Vicky suffers shooting pains and the need to pass stools urgently.

But when she explained her situation and asked to use the toilet at Zara at the Bullring shopping centre, in Birmingham, she was reportedly refused and had to run to find another toilet, panicking that she was going to have an accident on the way.

Crohn’s disease sufferers are offered a ‘card’ which explains the condition but Vicky had left it in her bag at home.

The 32-year-old said: "I felt a shooting pain and tried to carry on but then I started to sweat as I knew what was coming.

"I have been in situations before when I’ve not made it in time.

"So I went up to the shop assistant and said I’m really struggling here, I’ve got Crohn’s and I desperately need to use the toilet.

"Normally, it’s not a problem and a shop assistant will take me to a staff toilet and wait with me until I come out."

Vicky said the Zara store assistant said they didn’t have a toilet Vicky could use and that the nearest was in the shopping centre, which is not far from the store.

When Vicky pushed to use the staff toilet, she was told "it was not for her’.

Vicky, who works in the Birmingham City University marketing department, said: "I realise that not everyone understands Crohn’s but I think she could see that I looked urgent.

"Instead I had to ring my boyfriend, who had gone into Zara Men, and ask him to help me.

"I dumped the clothes I had chosen and ran across Bullring with a horrible sinking sensation and made it just in time.

"I just want to raise awareness to see if people could offer kindness to see if they can help."

Vicky bravely took to social media to share her plight after the incident on April 27.

She posted: "Disgusted CrohnsColitisUK – just had a desperate need for the loo @ZARA in the @Bullring and explained and was still told I couldn’t use their staff toilets (even though about to collapse in pain needing to go!) had to walk somewhere else v. Quickly before I had an accident!"

She later continued: "Remind @CrohnsColitisUK people not to forget your ‘urgent’ cards because people seem to have lost their human side in favour for the ‘rules’."

A spokesman for Zara said: "We endeavour to provide all our customers with great service so we have contacted the customer directly and apologised for her experience.

"As soon as this situation was brought to our attention we also got in touch with the charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK to support us in reinforcing training to further raise awareness."

A spokesman for Zara also called Vicky to talk through the situation.

Vicky said: "Someone from Zara called and apologised.

"She said they had investigated and reviewed in store with the team and manager.

"Originally, they said it was a miscommunication and I had to laugh a bit because I’d made it very clear I had to use the toilet.

"She said the staff member should have made it clear it was probably easier to reach the shopping centre toilet than the staff toilet as it is three floors down.

"But I explained I would rather be having an accident behind closed doors than in the middle of a shopping centre on my own.

"She said they were sorry the member of staff wasn’t sympathetic and that they would be giving further training to their staff."

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