Wheelchair-bound woman says she was denied service at salon

March 6, 2013 8:41:37 PM PST
What was supposed to be a nice day out for a Houston woman celebrating her birthday turned into an insulting disappointment. Now her family is trying to get the wrong rectified.

Just getting out of the house for Petra Deleon is a challenge.

"I have a spinal cord injury and I have a broken neck," Deleon said.

Going somewhere is even more so. It's a process that requires plenty of help and patience, with the goal being no wasted trips.

So when Deleon got to Chelsea Nails on East Crosstimbers on Monday as a birthday treat to herself, she expected to be there for a couple hours -- not the few minutes it turned out to be.

"I was in shock because it was very unexpected," she said.

Deleon says when she and her daughter-in-law, Holly Ellis, inquired about a manicure and pedicure for her, she was turned away.

"She said, 'Is she normal?' She's like, 'What do you mean?' She said, 'Can she sit in our chairs?' And she said, 'No.' and she said, 'Well we can't help her,'" Deleon said.

And Deleon says they wouldn't even let her wheel herself up to the table for a manicure.

"I was speechless. I didn't know what to say and the look on her face just made me feel worse," Ellis said.

We asked the manager, Lien Vu, about how Deleon was treated.

"I didn't meant to hurt anybody. I have a lot of customers like that in that way," she said.

Vu said they couldn't do a pedicure because she couldn't sit in the spa chair but she could do a manicure.

"Would you offer the service for free as a nice gesture?" we asked her.

"Why?" she said.

Deleon likely won't go back. She is now just hoping for an apology and for it to be the last time it happens.

"I'm just speaking out to make sure no one else feels embarrassed," Deleon said.

Deleon's brother has filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and has also contacted the mayor's office. Deleon was recently paralyzed in a bus accident and her family says this experience has opened their eyes to the possibility of discrimination.

Take ABC13 with you!
Download our free apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry devices