EDITORIAL – To the guy who ignored the soap and water in the public washroom

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

IT’S BECOME CLEAR that the answers to COVID-19 are relatively simple, if only we can bring ourselves to do it. While we wait for a vaccine, social distancing has gone into high gear.

The quarantining of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife Sophie Gregoire and his own decision to self-isolate for two weeks have proven to be a powerful endorsement of social distancing.

The cancellation of multiple public events is an inconvenience but one we’re willing to live with under the circumstances. Yet the other component in this battle — conscientious personal hygiene — is proving more of a challenge.

I had need of the washroom at a truck stop café this past weekend. I always do my best to avoid contact with doorknobs etc. in such places but we can’t control the actions of others.

So I was appalled when a man answered nature’s call and then walked straight out of the washroom into the convenience store area. Not one drop of water touched his hands. Not one bit of soap.

It’s a sad fact that men are pigs when it comes to hand washing. If they wash at all after doing their business, they stick their hands under the tap for a brief moment, may or may not use soap, and may or may not dry off.

That man in the truck stop could, theoretically, be responsible for the loss of a life, maybe his own. He probably goes through his day never bothering to wash his hands.

Look, people, let’s all follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice: “Wash your hands like you’ve been chopping jalapenos and you need to change your contacts.” And, count to 20.

Hand washing, controlling coughs and sneezes, avoiding crowds, these are cheap and effective, if we can learn the lesson.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (8171 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on EDITORIAL – To the guy who ignored the soap and water in the public washroom

  1. R A George // March 17, 2020 at 9:33 AM // Reply

    Last week I used the KMS tools washroom. There was no soap and paper towel scraps on the floor. I advised them of the problem.I went in to buy exaust pipes ,tailpipes and mufflers, as advertised in their flyer. They had one style of the two styles of mufflers advertised and no pipe of any kind. Not impressed.
    About a year ago at COSTCO I caught a guy pissung in the long handwashihg sink they have if you can believe it.He looked like one of the great unwashed and why he was allowed in I don,t know.Heck they even look sideways at me sometimes I of course told one of the big fellas they have.
    There,s even cats that do a poor job of covering it up; and dogs? the few scratches of dirt they propel behind them doesn,t do a thing.
    What a beautiful planet it would be without humans and religion eh?

  2. Frank Dwyer // March 16, 2020 at 5:11 PM // Reply

    Wash as if you just shook hands with the most obnoxious world figure you can think of. There’s a long list but a few stand out.

  3. Tony Brumell // March 16, 2020 at 11:26 AM // Reply

    Now that Trudeau has “self isolated ” HOW DO WE KEEP HIM THERE >?

  4. I witness the same unfortunate scenario on Saturday afternoon while shopping for at Aberdeen Mall. This particular exotic-looking young male exited the stall and was fast at wetting his finger tips at the sink and then…whoosh he was gone. I meant to yell at him to get back to the lavatory and wash his hand properly but he was gone that quick, the inconsiderate pig!

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