CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - An 89-year-old grandmother, Evelyn Redic, says she was told "no" when she asked to use the bathroom at a gas station on Clanton Road in southwest Charlotte. She says the worker told her the bathrooms were for employees only.
"She says she was outraged," Redic's granddaughter, Katossa Glover, said.
The incident happened on Sunday. Glover says her grandmother really wanted to go to church Sunday and went to service in the church van. On the way home, the van got a flat tire near the gas station. While waiting for the tire to get fixed, Redic had to use the restroom.
After she went inside and was told no, she says she had no other choice but to relieve herself on the grass near the gas station.
"She said 'I have never been so embarrassed,'" Glover said.
The granddaughter shared the experience on social media and got many responses coming to her grandmother's defense. Glover says her grandmother has already gone through a period where she was denied using certain facilities, and she doesn't want history to repeat itself.
"People are tired of being mistreated," Glover said, "and a woman who has been here since 1929, who has gone through that, will not experience that in 2018 without the community fighting."
County Commissioner Vilma Leake represents the area where the incident happened. She went to the gas station Thursday to talk to the manager to see what happened and why the grandmother was denied. She spoke to the clerk.
"The first thing she said was 'we can't say anything,'" Leake said.
Leake says she is irritated and angry this happened. The commissioner was told to call the corporate office for response. She said Thursday she was still waiting for a response. She says people should not patronize the business until she gets answers.
"She's a human being and they are human," Leake said. "That is out of the ordinary to say no to somebody that age."
Mecklenburg County officials say no code violations occurred. Officials say as long as gas stations have a restroom for employees, the owner can decide who to let use their facilities.
The grandmother's family understands that but believes there should have been an exception to the rule. The family thinks letting the grandmother use the bathroom is the least the gas station could have done.
"I think if you are making money here in this community, you need to be taking care of your community," Glover said.
The family says this denial has taken its toll on the grandmother. After the incident, Redic had to go to the hospital to get checked out.
"She is still very weak," Glover said. "She's resting."
Many people, like Leake and Glover, think gas stations should offer restrooms for the public - and that will soon happen. County officials say after January 1, 2019, all new gas stations in North Carolina must have a restroom for customers to use.
The family says they understand the rules, but they feel compassion should outweigh rules.
"I feel like we need some type of public apology," Glover said.
The family says it will protest the gas station until they get that public apology.
WBTV reached out to the Circle K Corporate office for a response on Thursday but had not received a response as of the time of this publication.