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Nail Salon Refuses Wheelchair User

July 17, 2009

Laura Williams

Ms Williams says she wants to highlight the way she was treated

A woman claims she was told she would not be served at a nail salon because she was in a wheelchair.

Laura Williams, 28, who has muscular dystrophy, says she was reduced to tears after twice being refused service at Hollywood Nails in Port Talbot.

The salon in the Aberafan Shopping Centre disputes her account and says she was asked to return on a different day.

Two carers who were with her say they support her claims.

Ms Williams, from Cwmavon, said she had been a customer at the salon for around two years.

She said she had her nails done at the salon about four weeks ago and after they started growing returned last week to have them “refilled.”

“They said ‘no – not today’ so I did not think anything of it and went back on Monday,” she said.

“Again they said no so we asked them why and he said ‘because you are in a wheelchair and I do not like you’.

“My carer went back in then and said can she make an appointment or something, come back another time? and he said no.”

Ms Williams said it was the same man who had served her on previous visits.

“I was shocked. I have never come across anything like that,” she added.

Hollywood Nails

The nail salon said Ms Williams was asked to return on a different day

“I burst into tears when my carer went back in. The people in the next shop came out and gave me tissues.

“One of my carers went and got a security guard.”

She said she made a complaint to the manager of the shopping centre but added in no way did she blame him, as she had always been treated well when visiting the complex.

Ms Williams has now created a site on the social networking site Facebook detailing her allegations.

“I just want to put my point across – they should not be treating people like that,” she added.

When a reporter from the BBC Wales news website visited the salon, he was told the manager was not available.

However a short time later a woman called and said she was the manageress and denied Ms Williams’s allegations.

She said whenever Ms Williams visited the shop she was the one who served her.

She said as she was not available staff asked Ms Williams to return another day.

She said the staff spoke little English so there may have been a misunderstanding but denied they refused to serve her because she was in a wheelchair or they did not like her.

She said the shop was happy to serve customers with wheelchairs.

Ms Williams was accompanied on Monday by two respite carers from the Swansea Neath Port Talbot Crossroads charity.

Manager Gareth Williams said: “It would appear that, in this particular instance, standards exhibited by the retailer involved apparently fell short of such widely recognised values.

“We [have] confirmed to Laura Williams that, if she were to consider pursuing the matter under anti-discrimination procedures via regulatory or legal bodies, we would in these circumstances be happy to provide the written statements of our staff members who were present at the time.”

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