common decency in public restrooms

I was in an airport lounge restroom at the Toronto airport this morning, standing at the sink while washing my hands. As an older woman got out of her bathroom stall, I casually noticed in the mirror that she seemed to be waiting for someone else to exit another stall as she also washed her hands. In about a couple minutes, a much younger female (she couldn’t have been any older than 11 or 12) also exited a stall and stood next to who I assumed to be her mom. She clearly used the restroom and flushed, but she made no attempt to get to a sink to suds up her hands.

Older woman: Hun, aren’t you going to wash your hands? You just used the bathroom, didn’t you?

Pre-teen: (grimaced, said not a single word, then points to the little bottle of hand sanitizer that is attached to the side of her backpack. She made no indication that she would use it then and there.. or maybe even ever).

Older woman: You’re going to that instead?

Pre-teen: (nods)

Older woman: Okay, then. If that’s what makes you happy.

They exited the bathroom. There are so many problems with what just happened, ranging from entitlement, lack of gratitude, lack of self-awareness, #firstworldproblems, to just plain filth, that I cannot even begin to list them out now.

I was immediately wondering exactly how permissive of a life this child led to be allowed to exit a public restroom without washing her hands. The purpose of hand sanitizer is to use it when you do not have access to soap, water, or a public restroom. She clearly had access to all the above. Yet, she stubbornly refused to use it. You’ve got to be kidding me. If that were my child in that situation, I would have said, “You’re in a public restroom with running water and soap. You’re going to wash your fucking hands now.”

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