Dear Editor,

My wife suffered a stroke as a result of a skiing accident four years ago. Given the severity of the stroke, she has made an amazing recovery, although she still has no use of her left arm.

For the past four years we have traveled throughout the world (bush camps in Africa, remote areas in Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and North America). Whenever my wife has to use the restroom, I go into the ladies room with her to assist her. We have never encountered a problem with this and have never had objections from the women in the ladies room once they understand our situation. However, we were in the Jacksonville, FL, airport in May and encountered a serious problem. As usual, I attempted to assist my wife who was in a wheelchair. A male police officer objected to my taking my wife into the ladies room to assist her. We asked him what we should do, and he essentially said it was none of his business, but that I could not assist my wife in the ladies room. When I asked for the name and telephone number of the officer’s supervisor, the officer became extremely agitated, demanded my drivers license, and disappeared with it for about thirty minutes. This almost caused us to miss our flight. Needless to say, we have filed a complaint against the officer with the police authorities.

For the future, we would like advice regarding what to do when my wife needs to use a ladies room and I need to assist her. As a result of the stroke, her bladder control is not what it used to be, so she generally has to get into the ladies room very quickly. In other words, we do not have the luxury of time to find someone, explain our situation, and request that the ladies room be cleared out. Thank you, JEFFREY A. PRUSSIN

That police officer was a real jerk. You were totally in the right. Unfortunately, he had the power. Many airports are now installing special unisex handicap bathrooms, but in places where these don’t exist, your method is best. In the particular situation you faced I probably would have complied with the officer (once I realized he wasn’t budging) and simply found another set of (unguarded) bathrooms. Definitely pursue your complain against this guy!