Treatment Of Boy With Autism Prompts Facebook Uproar
(Updated: May 31, 2013 at 11:19 AM CT)
When a Michigan boy with autism cried during a recent haircut, his mother reportedly got an earful from the salon owner. Now, the story has gone viral prompting a boycott of the business.
Ashley Bays says she took her son, Grayson, 2, for a haircut Saturday at the M Spa Salon and Day Spa in Portage, Mich. Though the boy had been to the salon before — and exhibited similar behavior — Bays tells MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette that this is the first time she’s had any problems.
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According to a Facebook posting from a fellow salon patron, the boy was crying during his haircut, but was not a bother.
“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,” reads the Facebook posting from Vanessa Hunt, which has been shared more than 34,000 times. “It got silent in the room besides the woman ranting to the mother. It was seriously painful to watch.”
“At the conclusion of this woman’s tantrum to the mother the mother said through tears, ‘I’m so sorry, he’s autistic,'” Hunt wrote.
The woman who allegedly approached Bays was later identified as Michelle Mott, the owner of the salon.
Hunt’s posting indicates that the hairstylist followed Bays and her son outside and proceeded to finish the boy’s haircut on the lawn of the salon.
Since the incident, a separate Facebook page calling for a boycott of the M Spa has more than 9,000 likes.
However, the salon owner insists that no wrongdoing occurred. In a statement to MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette, her attorney called the Facebook postings “inaccurate” and said the incident was handled “appropriately,” adding that “spa ownership addressed a situation which posed both an immediate, increasing safety concern to the child and a concern for other spa patrons.”
Subsequently, Mott posted a statement of her own on her business’ website apologizing to the family and asking those who are calling for a boycott to consider the impact on her employees.
“I want to say that my actions were not intended to create any hardship or embarrassment for little Grayson or his parents. And while I believed that Grayson’s parents understood that, when Mrs. Bays stayed for her highlight and cut at our spa right after Grayson had left with his father, I want to reassure the Bays family of this point. I apologize to Grayson and the Bays for any embarrassment or hardship that they have experienced by my actions,” reads the statement.