Disabled Woman Is Left ‘Humiliated’ After Nail Salon Staff Refuse To Work On Her 'Twisted' Hands
A disabled mum has been left humiliated after her local salon refused to do her nails because of her 'twisted hands.'
Abbey Phipps visited Nail Studio in March, Cambridgeshire, on Friday 11th October, to treat herself before picking up her son, Tyler-Jay, from school.
As she entered the salon, the 28-year-old claims the employees stared at her hands, which are bent due to Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC) - a congenital disease that causes contracture (deformity and rigidity) in the joints.
Despite her condition, Abbey is able to 'manipulate' her fingers and hold them in the correct position for her nails to be painted, as she has done so many times in the past.
But the full-time mum alleges that she has been turned away twice from the same salon in the last six months, with another customer walking out with her in solidarity.
In a statement on social media, the salon denied that they had refused to do Abbey's nails due to her twisted hands, but then admitted they rejected her due to her hand's positioning, which would have made it "unsafe".
Abbey, from March, Cambridgeshire, said: "This is now the second occasion I've asked them to do my nails and been turned away.
"I walked in and they were sitting down with other customers, but started looking over at my hands."
"I hadn't even had chance to speak before they said no.
"I mentioned that it was fine and I'd just book for another day, but she said she couldn't do that either. She kept just saying no.
"One staff member said 'it is too hard for me to do your twisted hands'.
"I could have argued until I was blue in the face but I left. It was humiliating.
"I've lived in March for four years and this salon have always said no [to me]."
Abbey has been campaigning against disability discrimination online for years, but admits she would never expect to see it in her hometown.
In a move to improve her 'body positivity,' she likes to get her nails done when she has the chance.
Now, after being reportedly shunned twice, she is speaking out to give others the strength to stand up for themselves.
Abbey said: "There are several nail bars [around here] and I've been to a number of them before. I chose this one in particular because my friend had just been there."
"I've had my nails done before. It's not like it's impossible.
"I have a congenital condition from birth which means I'm in a wheelchair. It affects my wrists more than anything, but I can manipulate my fingers.
"I had no issues getting into the shop or going up to the desk. There was no problems with access and I had my carer with me anyway.
"I don't see why there would be any reason for them to turn me away."
She said on the latest occasion, nobody else in the shop got involved, but the first time she visited six months ago, another woman got up and walked out because of how the nail technician spoke to her.
"She didn't even let her finish the manicure," she said.
"I said 'you don't have to do that', but she said 'I'm not paying money to someone who is being discriminatory'."
Currently, Abbey is trying to raise awareness of discrimination and access anyway, so this has only added fuel to her fire.
She said: "It makes me feel so angry.
"A lot of people would stop going out for this kind of thing."
Abbey says she's had no direct response or apology from the salon either.
"It's all about time management with them - trying to get people in and out," Abbey added.
On their Facebook page, Nail Studio wrote: "Dear customers, you may have read on social media, about a customer who has made a complaint, stating discrimination under the Equality and Disability Act, which she posted on Facebook.
'"We did not at no point refused to do your nails due to 'your twisted hand' (as you stated).
"We advised you that to do your nail due to the fact that we would not be able to position yourself safely, without causing you great discomfort to perform the service with the position of your hand.
"This would have made it very unsafe for you."
"We pride ourselves on our health and safety of all our customers and staff, and on this occasion this was the priority, for both you and staff to not be positioned in a way to cause injury and discomfort while performing and receiving a nail treatment.
"As this matter has now been raised in negative direction, we have no alternative but to seek advise from our legal representative to protect our business image."
When approached for comment, the manager of Nail Studio added: "This is the first time Abbey came to our salon, not the second time like she said."
Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News and Media