PALMDALE (CBSLA.com) — When Patricia Moore was 13, cancer changed her life.
A tumor in her nervous system put her in a wheelchair. She’s spent the past year trying to fight it.
“Six rounds of chemo, I think 12 rounds of radiation; she’s lost her hair; she’s been away from home for four months in the hospital,” said Shannon Moore, her mother.
When doctors said there were no more treatments to try, Patricia was allowed to be in public for the first time in a quite a while.
Her mom planned a special shopping spree, starting with a manicure at the mall.
“I was so excited,” Patricia said.
But they say a nail salon immediately turned them away.
“[They] just looked at Patricia and said, ‘No,’ ” Shannon recalled.
“I tried to explain to them I can use one of my pillows and put it on the chair and try to sit up,” Patricia said. “I felt upset and sad.”
There’s now a question if the salon, Queen’s Nails, violated the Americans With Disabilities Act, a federal law requiring businesses to make reasonable modifications to accommodate people with disabilities.
“That someone would tell her no based on her wheelchair, seeing her go into the mall smiling, and then come out crying and sad,” Shannon said.
CBS2/KCAL9 went back to the mall with Shannon and Patricia and asked the employees at Queen’s Nails for explanation.
“If she cannot stand, I cannot do it, because she lie down like that, I cannot do that,” one employee said.
When pressed further, another employee came out.
Long Nguyen, a Queen’s Nails employee, then apologized.
“We’re very sorry for any misunderstanding, and you’re always welcome here, anytime, and I’d be glad to take care of you personally as well,” he said.
Nguyen also provided a statement, reading in part: “It was never our intention to hurt her feelings in any way. … We hope to move onward and possibly have a positive relationship with this amazing young lady.”
He also said the salon has made changes since the incident occurred.
“Yes, we have [made changes] … just more awareness, be more accommodating, more compassionate,” he insisted.
It was welcome news to Patricia and her mother, who hopes speaking out will prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
“They have to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” she said.