Situation 'handled poorly' after a woman was trapped in Winnipeg Walmart washroom with son for 90 minutes
Published Friday, January 19, 2018 2:46PM CST
Last Updated Friday, January 19, 2018 7:26PM CST
A Winnipeg woman is disappointed with the Walmart on McPhillips Street after she got trapped in the store’s family washroom with her three-year-old son.
What was supposed to be quick stop at the store for Crystal Cousins and her son Maddox turned into a 90 minute dilemma.
Moments of levity early on turned into panic as the situation dragged on, Cousins said.
She was on her way to a fitness class Wednesday night and stopped at the store after her son’s swimming lessons to get him a treat because he didn’t get to go in the pool.
“It was one of those days where if something could go wrong, it did go wrong,” said Cousins. “He didn’t get to go in the water because there was a pool fouling.”
“And then of course he’s three so as soon as we got in the store the first thing we had to do was go to the restroom. So we went into the family washroom located at the back of the store. He did his thing, we washed our hands, we go to open the door and it is stuck and we can’t get out.”
Despite unlocking the door and trying several times to pull it open Cousins and her son couldn’t get out.
“We’re pulling and we’re pushing and it’s not opening,” said Cousins. “I actually tried it three or four times.”
“Then there was that moment of now what.”
She called the store’s customer service line for help using her mobile phone.
“And they laughed. Because I’m like ‘I’m trapped in your washroom’ and they’re like ‘ha ha’ and I’m like ‘no really someone needs to come and let us out.’”
In a statement Walmart Canada said it’s sorry for the experience Cousins and her son had in the store. A spokesperson says Walmart associates responded but Cousins said they didn’t do enough to help during the predicament.
“It took 10 minutes for the first person to actually come to the door,” said Cousins.
Cousins said that employee went and got a manager who couldn’t get the door open either and told Cousins he was going to call a locksmith.
“At which point I asked how long that would take because we’d already been in there for 25 to 30 minutes,” said Cousins.
Eventually her mom contacted the store asking Walmart to contact the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service but Cousins said the store wouldn’t, so her mom called the fire department herself.
“That is what ultimately led the door finally being opened, was the arrival of the fire department,” said Cousins. “It was kind of hilarious, a little embarrassing because who gets locked in a bathroom stall and needs to be rescued from the fire department.”
“I’m not exactly sure what they used but there was lots of really loud banging and it sounded like some sort of machinery. And the door started to shake and then you could see it start to open and a crowbar came in and they wrenched it the rest of the way in.”
“They immediately came in, ‘they’re like how are you guys, we’re so sorry. You shouldn’t have been left in here for so long.’”
Cousins said she her son were shaken but had no injuries. They had been stuck in the washroom for around an hour and a half.
Cousins said one manager at the store acknowledged the matter was handled poorly.
“I said, ‘you guys just left us there. If this manager didn’t know what to do, he should’ve sought help, asked someone,’” said Cousins. “The store had not a clue on how to deal with it.”
Walmart Canada said the interior handle mechanism broke and that a store manager has reached out to Cousins to follow up on her concerns.
“I’d like an apology. I’d like to speak with someone and talk about it. I’d like to know what’d they do if this ever happened again to make sure someone doesn’t wait and I’d like some compensation for the stress, the time.”