JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Brienna McElyea’s plan was to go to the Orange Park Mall for a pedicure Wednesday.
She left in tears.
The 25-year-old has cerebral palsy, but has never let the disability slow her down.
Bri’s mother, Jill, told Action News Jax: “She graduated high school with a standard diploma. She attends college.”
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She added, “Our expectations of her are the same as our other daughter.”
Bri’s parents were surprised when staff at Nails Spa and Beyond inside the Orange Park Mall refused to give her a pedicure.
“I tried to explain to them that I could get her in the chair and that we can get her in the position and I can hold her hands while they paint nails, but they weren’t listening,” Jill explained.
She reported the situation to mall management and got results.
Action News Jax got the following statement from shopping center spokespeople"
"Nails Spa and Beyond has offered complimentary services for Bri, her mother and caregiver. Orange Park Mall will also be providing Bri a gift card to her favorite store," said Chelsea Commodari, Marketing Director of Orange Park Mall.
"I'm proud of the way our Orange Park management team responded to this isolated incident. Marketing Director Chelsea Commodari and General Manager Randy Bowman focus every day on providing a positive experience for guests. They plan to help educate our tenant partners so that they can better serve our guests in the future," saidGreg Fleser, Regional Vice President of Washington Prime Group, the owner of Orange Park Mall.
Bri’s dad, Brian, described, “No matter who it is that comes through the door you should try and accommodate them, regardless of their ability or disability.”
Action News Jax Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson said the salon is within its rights to refuse service to any customer.
Bri’s parents hoped this story will broaden the understanding of individuals with disabilities.
“If you don’t know how to handle that, then we understand that, but the best thing is to open communication with us,” said Brian.
Action News Jax reached contacted the salon to speak with the owner. We’re still waiting for a response.
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