Patricia Moore is a 13-year-old cancer patient in Palmdale, California, and after months in the hospital and round after round of chemotherapy, she was finally ready to get out in the world, even if she was confined to a wheelchair.
So imagine Patricia’s disappointment when her mom took her to the mall to get a manicure — and the nail salon employees told her to get out because they didn’t want to work on a wheelchair patient.
“[They] just looked at Patricia and said, ‘No,'” Patricia’s mom, Shannon, told CBS Los Angeles TV.
Patricia was crushed — four months in the hospital battling cancer, only to face a pointless act of apparent discrimination.
“I tried to explain to them I can use one of my pillows and put it on the chair and try to sit up,” Patricia said. “I felt upset and sad.”
But it may soon be the salon, Queen’s Nails in Palmdale, that could be feeling sad. According to some reports, the thoughtless actions of the salon employees may have been in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Los Angeles TV station reported.
The federal statute requires businesses to reasonably accommodate people in wheelchairs and with other needs due to disabilities. Simply to serve a customer who happens to be in a wheelchair would appear to be more than reasonable.
When the TV station sent a reporter to accompany the girl and her mom back to the Queens Nail salon to see if in fact the employees there could come up with a “reasonable” explanation for kicking out a 13-year-old cancer patient, they were frustrated at first.
“If she cannot stand, I cannot do it, because she lie down like that, I cannot do that,” one unidentified employee said.
Finally Long Nguyen, another worker at the salon, offered an apology for the actions of his colleagues.
“We’re very sorry for any misunderstanding, and you’re always welcome here, anytime, and I’d be glad to take care of you personally as well,” he told Patricia.
Nguyen later told the station that the salon was now attempting to show “more awareness, be more accommodating, more compassionate.”
Whether Patricia Moore will return to that particular salon for her next manicure, well, that remains to be seen.
[Image: CBS Los Angeles Screen Grab]