I grew up here in St. Louis. There are things growing up here you notice. The one big thing to me is that for some reason St. Louis is a narrow minded community. They are all about “where did you go to high school?” and where you live. It is a label that is horrible and of course narrow minded. But today on Facebook I saw a post from a friend, who was helping a friend spread the word about a specific shop here locally in St. Louis, to be more specific Chesterfield. I want to share with you this friend of a friend wrote:
“I guess I always knew this day would come but I was holding out hope that people were inherently good and compassionate. Today my 4 year old son and I were asked to leave a store because he walks with a walker. He hascerebral palsy and needs the walker to be independent.Kay Wallace, owner of F O B Designs in Lamp and Lantern Village, does not believe that he should be allowed to shop in her store. Within a minute of our arrival she approached us and told me that her aisles were narrow and he could possibly run into something. I told her that he would be fine and careful. She gave me an incensed look as if to say, “clearly you don’t understand what I am trying to say.” After a few more comments about why he should not be there, she looked me directly in the eyes and said that he would be better served elsewhere.My heart sank. My temper rose! I looked at Carter’s happy little face and asked if she was discriminating against him because he was disabled. She said he would be better served elsewhere and that she was worried about his safety…her insurance would not cover the costs of any accidents! i told her that as his mom, I was certain that he was perfectly safe. She again told me in a very condescending way that she believed her store was not suitable for him and when I again asked if she was discriminating against him she said that I was just angry and could not be made happy and maybe I should shop elsewhere, too!!I could not believe that in this day and age of acceptance, inclusion and education that she could be so insensitive and prejudice. People with disabilities have the right to participate fully and equally in all aspects of society, including shopping for furniture! It is essential that we change these barbaric attitudes and perceptions about people living with disabilities. Does she know how much courage, heart and determination it takes for Carter to walk into her store with his head held high and a smile on his face? Does she know how much effort it took him JUST to walk down the street and over the threshold into her store?On several occasions during our conversation she stated that I was just angry. Of course I was angry…she just told me that my 4 year old son was not welcome in her store! I am also angry that she insinuated that I was angry because my son has a disability. Carter is the most amazing kid I have ever known and I am lucky to be his mom.Kay Wallace of F O B Design of St. Louis should be ashamed of herself. If you agree that Kay Wallace demonstrated behavior that was unethical and unacceptable please repost and do not shop at her store or the stores of other people sharing her attitude towardpeople with disabilities!! Thanks for all of your support…” Shelly Arnold Reynolds
I was in shock as a mother. I like to think that I am a mother that is teaching my children about acceptance and kindness. It does not matter if the shop owner donates time and money to special causes if they do not train their employees to show that same compassion and concern when a potential client walks through that door. Would it have been different if it were an adult dress in high end clothing using a walker, would they have been asked to leave because of the potential “accidents” that might or might not happen? So Mrs. Wallace, what do you have to say for your self, for your company. You asked a mother to leave a store because of her son’s disability. A mother that knows better than you what her son is able to do and not do, like walking through the aisles of your shop. You took a horribly narrow minded assumption and snobby attitude making this mother feel like she and her son were not good enough to be in your store. Have you at all thought about what she went through as a mother or what he went through to be a 4 year old boy with no cares in the world other then making sure he gets his favorite juice or watched his favorite cartoon? In any business situation this was indeed “unethical and unacceptable” as Shelly Arnold Reynolds stated. I would love to see Mrs. Wallace right this wrong, but after hurting a mother like that is there really a way for her to redeem herself?
ETA: Here is the link to the Facebook page Shelly Arnold Reynolds has created to protest this action from FOB Design. If you feel strongly about how Mrs. Wallace was wrong please like this page in support!!