Toilet breaks at Richmond bar leaving women ‘hurt and humiliated’

RICHMOND, Va. -- It was supposed to be a fun girls' night out, celebrating a relative’s birthday. However, last Tuesday night quickly turned into a humiliating ordeal for Zhanitah Ross and Constance Russell, when an incident in the bathroom, left both women soaked in dirty toilet water.

“We came out smelling like Victoria’s Secret and perfume and we left smelling like urine,” Russell said.

Ross and Russell said they spent the evening of May 9 at the Alcove Martini Bar on Richmond’s East Main Street.

At one point in the night, both women said they went to use the restroom.

Zhanitah Ross and Constance Russell

While Russell said she was looking in the mirror, Ross claimed she went into the stall, unaware that the toilet was not secured firmly to the ground.

“When I stooped down to use the bathroom, the toilet fell over and knocked me over,” Ross said.

She explained the surging water kept knocking her off her feet.

“It kept knocking me over and the water was coming up out of the floor. It was rushing- rushing- rushing,” she explained.

Russell said she tried to help her panicked friend after she heard screams coming from the bathroom stall.

In doing so, she said she also ended up falling to the ground and spraining her arm.

The women said they called an ambulance as a precaution and documented the capsized toilet and flooded bathroom with a cell phone.

Later that night, both Ross and Russell went to Memorial Regional Medical Center to be checked out. While their injuries were minor, both women said they were shocked over the response they received that night from Alcove’s manager, and again the next day from the business owner.

Ross said despite initially agreeing to help pay for any medical expenses, the owner later refused to offer insurance information when Ross contacted him the following day.

“I asked him if I could have that information and he told me ‘no,’ his insurance company would not speak to me,” Ross said.

Ross and Russell said they became more upset after reading several complaints on social media regarding the restaurant’s bathroom facilities, including some complaints that dated back to January.

While both women said they were reluctant to contact the media for assistance, they said the embarrassment of the night has already been felt.

“No one wants to leave a bar and walk through a crowd of people soaking wet, smelling like urine and toilet water,” Ross said. “Can you imagine how humiliating that was?”

Despite initially speaking with CBS 6 News on the phone, the business owner later asked to remove his comments from the record.

Both women said they were told by the owner to contact an attorney if they wanted to pursue legal action.