Overweight woman denied service at Texas nail salon as staff was afraid she would break spa chair
Tina Lewis had gone to Rose's Nails in Houston for a pedicure with her mother when she went through the less-than-pleasant experience.
HOUSTON, TEXAS: An African-American woman claims she was denied pedicure service at a nail salon in Houston because an employee was afraid her weight might break one of the chairs. According to reports, Tina Lewis had gone to Rose's Nails on Greens Road for a pedicure with her mother on Thursday when she went through the less-than-pleasant experience. The incident was captured in a surveillance video inside the salon where Lewis was seen walking up to one of the employees, who was later identified as Marie Bui.
In an interview with KTRK, Lewis said that she felt discriminated against. "I get my nails and my toes done every two weeks, and I’ve never had a problem like that,” Lewis said. "It was like, very disrespectful. To me, I thought it was discrimination."
Bui, who also spoke to the local news outlet, said that she had to draw the line after another overweight customer was suspected of breaking a chair at their facility in the recent past. "I said, 'my spa chair [is] very small,'" adding that she did not mean to comment on Lewis' size.
Lewis countered by saying that she had seen another large-sized person being serviced last week at the salon and that the denial was a personal attack against her. "And I was like, ‘Are you serious? So you’re saying that I'm too big to sit in a chair?’" Lewis said.
She added that nothing regarding their policy on oversized customers was specified before she entered the facility. "Someone needs to go down there and let them know that if they do have requirements, that they need to be posted on the door," she said, adding she will not be visiting the salon again.
Since heavy people are not protected under the law like race or gender, private establishments may reserve the rights to deny service based on someone's weight.
"It's a private business. Someone can deny a person for whatever reason, as long as it's not protected," New York attorney Julie Hyman, who is not representing Lewis, told Daily Mail. However, he added that the salon should have considered the sentiments of the customer in this case. "I don't know if I would have chosen that option. Sometimes the chair is meant to die."