It was definitely a case of a public inconvenience - but a cheery pensioner left ‘stuck in the loo’ at Sunderland’s Park Lane Interchange for an hour was able to see the funny side of his mishap and even called his friends and family to wish them a final farewell in case he never saw the light of day again!
John Hill, who is registered partialy sighted, found himself trapped in the disabled toilet and banging on the door to grab the attention of his wife, Theresa.
An hour later when the 78-year-old was finally freed, John went to shake the hand of his rescuer who pulled away joking, “have you washed your hands?”
The couple, who have been married for 55 years, were on their way to Newcastle from their home in Seaham when the incident occurred on Monday at about 11am.
“My wife was starting to get a bit concerned about me but I found the whole thing really funny,” said upbeat John.
“We’ve recently moved back to Seaham, it’s where I was born. I’m 78 now and we’re living our life up here travelling around on buses.
“My wife went into the ladies and I used my master key to get into loo and when I went to come out I couldn’t open the door.
“The toilets are very dark with little blue lights, it’s dismal.
“I went to use the alarm but that wasn’t working - which had it been different circumstances could have been really serious.
“By this point my wife had got on the bus thinking that’s where I must of gone meanwhile I’m banging on the bathroom door trying to get out,” laughs John.
“Thankfully she came back and she could just about hear me through the door and she went to speak to one of the people in high vis.”
Despite efforts from staff at the bus station to free John, Sunderland City Council was called and a drill was used to eventually unlock the door.
He added: “I was in there an hour. I’m seeing the funny side of it. I was calling my family and friends to say farewell in case I never saw them again. I posted on Facebook too and it received a lot of laughs.
“When I was finally free I was laughing and I went to shake the hand of my rescuer, he pulled back and said ‘have you washed your hands?’”
The couple did stress that it could have been dangerous if someone on their own or with a serious health condition had become stuck.
Theresa, 74, said: “I did get a bit concerned at one point because he needed to take his medication that I had.
“But we go through life laughing so we always try see the funny side.”
Councillor Amy Wilson, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We’re very sorry to hear about Mr Hill’s experience. It appears that the toilet door jammed while he was inside. This has since been fixed. We understand Nexus staff at the interchange came to his rescue after realising he was stuck inside.
“We would like to pass on our best wishes to him and will be writing to him to apologise for any distress caused.”