if you gotta go

This Mom Was Issued A Fine After Her 4-Year-Old Son's Bathroom Emergency At A Park

"What did they expect us to do?" the mom said. "Using the bathroom is a right."

A mom is facing a fine after she had her son urinate in the bushes due to a closed park bathroom.
Pyrosky/E+/Getty Images

A New York City mom is speaking out against New York City city officials after they issued her a $50 fine for her four-year-old son's emergency bathroom break.

Michiko Sasaki took her 4-year-old son Kobe to Battery Playscape in Battery Park City when he had a bathroom emergency. According to Sasaki, Kobe has anxiety and sensory processing disorder, which for him, means he's not always attuned to his bladder signals which can sometimes lead to a rushing moment of trying to find a bathroom.

"There was a building with bathrooms ... with 'No bathroom' signs," Sasaki told TODAY.com.

She searched with Kobe for another bathroom in the park, but Kobe yelled, 'Mom, I need to go!'" She led him to the back of the bathroom building where he relieved himself on a patch of dirt and weeds.

After Kobe finished, the mom and were “circled” by park officials, said Sasaki.

"One said, 'Step out, this is not legal' in an aggressive and abrasive tone. Instantly, I got defensive."

Sasaki said she pointed to the restroom sign indicating it was closed.

"What did they expect us to do?" she says. "Using the bathroom is a right."

According to Sasaki, an officer directed the mom to a different bathroom though she believes her son wouldn't have made it in time.

"There were no directions for the other bathroom on the sign or a portable toilet," she explained.

Sasaki said the officers made her son feel uncomfortable.

"He was tugging on me to leave, saying, 'I don't like this,'" she said, adding, "Every time he used the bathroom that day, he said, 'Remember those mean people?'"

Sasaki was issued a $50 summons, to which she has the option of responding in a July 2 hearing.

The summons reads: “I did observe the respondent allowing her child to urinate on (park) property, next to (the) public bathroom that is open to the public.”

Let’s be clear: the bathrooms had signs on them that said “NO BATHROOMS!”

Sasaki said she plans to appeal the summons.

"It's not about the money — it's the principal," she said, acknowledging that she knows public urination against the rules, however, she is frustrated by what she says were lack of options in a rare emergency.

"Had my son peed in his pants, he would have been on playground equipment with wet pants," she says. "That's not OK either. Would that have resulted in a ticket?"

Kelsey Jean-Baptiste, a press officer for the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation responded to TODAY.com’s request for comment and wrote:

"We want every New Yorker to be able to enjoy our parks and feel comfortable in them, which is why NYC Parks maintains more than 1,600 public restrooms across the five boroughs for the benefit of the public and the health of our city. Public urination in parks is prohibited, and we ask everyone to use the designated facilities provided."

A spokesperson from the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation also said:

"There are three different bathrooms in total inside Battery Park: Castle Clinton, The View (nearest to the playscape behind the concession), and the restroom on the other side of the park near Battery Place (NW corner)."

The spokesperson clarifies: “The public bathrooms are located at the back of the building that contains ‘The View,’ and across a path from the Playscape."

Okay, let’s break this down for a second.

A simple Google Maps search will show that it’s a six-minute walk from the Battery Park Playscape to the Castle Clinton, there is no way Sasaki would have made it to that bathroom with her son before he had an accident.

The bathroom near Battery Place is more than double that walk time, and the one near the playscape seemingly is the bathroom that had “NO BATHROOM” signs all over it.

So, what was she supposed to do?

Of course, we should all abide by the rules and regulations of whatever establishment we’re at. However, she was just trying to relieve her son. Give the woman a break!