A Facebook post about a business in Michigan called M Spa and an alleged incident of poor treatment involving a mother and her autistic child went viral this weekend, garnering tens of thousands of shares worldwide after another patron of the salon who witnessed the incident wrote up what she says she saw and encouraged friends to share.
The original Facebook post came from a woman named Vanessa Hunt, of Battle Creek, who detailed her M Spa experience in Portage over the weekend.
Hunt was at M Spa with a friend for manicures when she witnessed the little boy -- crying quietly about his haircut -- and his mother as they were approached by a woman Hunt later learned from her friend was the spa's owner.
According to Vanessa, the child's sobbing was not very disruptive -- but the owner's alleged behavior made several clients and the boy's mother upset to the point of tears.
In the lengthy post, Hunt says:
"[The boy] was crying during it but it didn't bother Jess or I. Heck, the music was still louder than the little boy... All of a sudden a lady stormed into the portion of the spa we were sitting in and proceeded to give the mom a severe tongue lashing and explained how inappropriate her son's behavior was. It got silent in the room besides the woman ranting to the mother. It was seriously painful to watch seeing as I have been there more than once myself and it's very hard when your child is having a tantrum in public. The last thing you need is a woman yelling at you for it."
"At the conclusion of this woman's tantrum to the mother the mother said through tears, 'I'm so sorry, he's autistic.' Yup, this woman yelled at a mother and child which is bad enough on it's own just for the mother to reveal her son has special needs on top of being what any 2 1/2-3 year old child might act like when getting a haircut... The mom cradled her son and left while the stylist followed her."
She continues, noting that her companion identified the woman as the salon's owner, and that she regretted spending money there that day. Hunt adds:
"Jess and I walked outside to see the hairstylist finishing the little boy's haircut on the lawn. The mom still crying and cradling her precious son. We hugged her and cried with her too. It was so awful to see this. So heartless."
Already, local spas and salons in Portage have reached out to the mother (who has not stepped forward) and her autistic son, offering a free haircut. Locals have also created a boycott M Spa page, with more than 6,000 fans so far.
Hunt spoke with Michigan's MLive, confirming that she indeed wrote the post and claiming that the incident occurred as she described it on Facebook.
She tells the site:
"People were commenting from Switzerland and Australia... I don't understand how it got this big. This was not my intention and I'm almost bothered by how much attention it's getting, but I'm glad I said something because I think it's the right thing to do. I think people need to be aware that things like this happen all the time."
MLive identifies the owner of M Spa as Michelle Mott, and says that attempts to obtain her version of events after the autistic boy's mother was allegedly berated in the salon have thus far been unsuccessful. The Facebook page of M Spa has been removed from Facebook following the controversy.