Despite pretty much any economic recession, the beauty industry has continued to profit. The reason is pretty straight-forward — people always want to look and feel their best, no matter how much money they have to spare. This industry's profits continue to soar, with an astounding 56.2 billion dollar profit in America in the year 2015 alone. Hair care comes out on top when it comes to top-dollar beauty industry profit, with over 86,000 salons open in the United States — and counting. Hair care — which includes everything from highlights, perms, to a simple trim — is predicted to be an 87.73 billion dollar business in 2018. Haircuts will pretty much remain a staple for the majority of people far into the future, and this includes clients of all ages.
Although adults can be picky about their specific cut and color, children can be even harder to please. Although some little kids may not put up a fuss, other children may be intensely distraught at just the thought of a haircut. A trip to the hair salon can be extremely difficult for kids with special needs, and it may take a barber a bit of ingenuity to make a special needs child comfortable. Many heartwarming stories had emerged about caring and accommodating barbers, including a barber from the U.K. who went viral for cutting an autistic boy's hair as he lay on the ground — just to make sure he was comfortable with getting his haircut. Although most salons aim to deliver an amazing experience to every type of client, one mother from Wisconsin learned that not every salon is so understanding!
One Mom From Wisconsin Scheduled A Typical Appointment
Oelke's son Matthew has Down syndrome, but that had never stopped him from getting his occasional haircut like any other little boy. Oelke stated she had taken Matthew to A Hair For Kids Salon for years, but the owner of the salon decided to reach out to Oelke before this most recent appointment. The email Oelke received was stated the salon couldn't accept Matthew's appointment, and the salon owner's reasoning is beyond infuriating.
Kathleen Curiale — the owner of A Hair For Kids Salon — sent Oelke an email with the vague subject line "not able to accommodate." Curiale goes on to state that "it has been brought to my attention by my stylist that they feel your haircut service you have booked with us is not a good fit for your needs with us." The owner admits that her "stylists are not comfortable with servicing your child," and Oelke would "will need to seek another children’s salon for your services."
"This is nothing personal it is just not a good fit for my stylists. I do hope you understand," the owner stated at the end of her email. Oelke obviously took it very personally, and she was absolutely floored by this ignorant response from a professional place of business. "I was upset when I got the email," Oelke admitted. She decided to share this upsetting experience with the world.
Oelke Was Is Disbelief Of The Salon Owner's Ignorance
Unable to let this salon owner's unprofessionalism slide, Oelke decided to post a screenshot of the email to her Facebook. "Total discrimination! Stupid fu**s! I understand that he can be difficult but I am so hurt and disgusted," Oelke stated. This Wisconsin mother went on to state that "they don’t deserve to get any business." The internet couldn't agree more.
People Began To Rally Around Oelke And Her Disabled Son
Parents all over Facebook began to show their support for Oelke and express their anger toward's this insensitive salon owner. "This kind of ignorance HAS to be stopped," one Facebook user stated. It wasn't long before people from all over began leaving A Hair For Kids Salon negative reviews on Facebook — and it definitely made an impact!
One Facebook user pointed out that the owner of the salon was being discriminatory to Matthew Oelke in particular. "To be fair... you should probably email all of those special needs clients and tell them your salon isn't a fit for them as well," they stated. This Facebook user definitely presents a valid point, and many other people brought up the fact that what owner Kathleen Curiale is downright illegal.
Many Facebook users recognized that Curiale's email is against the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This legislation makes it against the law to discriminate against anyone due to a disability. Once Curiale began getting a ton of attention over the matter, she began responding to comments on the salon's Facebook. It did not go well.
An employee of the salon named Brooklyn insisted that the owner's email was "wrong verbiage" or "misworded." This stylist insists that the owner wasn't refusing service to this child, but it was a matter of his best-suited stylist not working that day. Curiale spoke to news outlets about the entire ordeal, and she claimed it was merely a misunderstanding.
"If she would have called, explained her concerns — because not once was safety brought up until people were getting at her," Oelke stated. Oelke defended her son, stating, "and I get it. He can be difficult. But he's afraid. It's not like he's destructive. It's not like he's hurting anybody." Although Oelke didn't intend on starting an outrage, she is glad it is bringing awareness to the need for acceptance of children and their specific needs.
"I am not here to get her business shut down. I am here to raise awareness and stick up for my child who cannot speak up for himself yet," Oelke stated. Matthew is definitely in good hands. This mother has her heart in the right place, and the Internet is behind her 100 percent!
Hopefully This Salon Owner Has Learned A Valuable Lesson
“I was too blunt, it was too quickly expressed and the wrong way to go about it. It should have been a personal call. In no way would we discriminate against anyone," Curiale stated. I'm sure this salon owner will think twice before turning away any client in the future — disability or not.