CHICAGO – Thursday was a landmark day at O’Hare International Airport, as its first automatic-flushing toilet surprised its 500,000th user with a violent, unwarranted flush. The automatic toilet, manufactured by American Standard, has been in use for almost 15 years in Terminal 3, making it one of the most trafficked toilets in the world.
“The toilets sure are durable, I can tell you that much,” said O’Hare spokesman Ed Willingham. “People from all over the world come through this airport and not all of them have even seen automatic toilets before.”
“Imagine their surprise when it activates!”
According to several users, the experience is unsettling. “I shifted my body to reach for the toilet paper and I damn near jumped off the seat,”said one user who wished to remain anonymous. “The thing went off twice before I even stood up.”
The key feature of the toilet is the hyper-sensitive motion detector. According to American Standard, it can read movement of as little as one centimeter per second. Cross that threshold and one runs the risk of a terrifying whirlpool opening up beneath one’s exposed anus.
“No, I don’t want to talk about it. It just…it splashes,” said one visibly shaken traveler while walking away.
Still, Willingham is very proud. “It’s a testament to the airport,” he said. “500,000? That’s 100 a day for almost 15 years. Longevity, consistency and turnover. That’s what we do at O’Hare.”
When asked how they came to this number and what forms of data gathering were used, Willingham promptly called security to have all media escorted out of the building.