LATEST: Owner’s lawyer says situation was handled “appropriately”
PORTAGE, MI – The owner of a Portage spa and salon is expected to issue a statement in response to an incident involving its treatment of the mother of a boy with autism that created an outcry on social media.
Staff at M Spa Salon and Day Spa said on Tuesday morning that owner Michelle Mott was not available for comment.
Alano Cardosa, who identified himself as her boyfriend, walked over to the counter and said Mott was planning to issue a statement on the situation. He didn’t say when it would be.
Meanwhile, Ashley Bays, the subject of a viral Facebook post written by a woman from Battle Creek, said she never knew a Facebook post could spread so quickly.
Vanessa Hunt, 29, was getting a manicure on Saturday when she said she saw Mott berating Bays for the way her 2.5-year-old son Grayson, who has autism, behaved during a haircut. Hunt said the “severe lick” caused the family to quit the haircut halfway through and the stylist finished the toddler’s hair on the lawn outside.
Hunt recounted the incident in a Facebook post on Sunday afternoon, which had been shared more than 26,000 times as of Tuesday morning.
The post drew widespread negative reviews from the show, which ultimately deleted its Facebook page on Monday. Two Facebook pages calling for a boycott of M Spa, one of which has more than 6,000 subscribers, were created on Monday.
Bays’ account of what happened at the show on Saturday is similar to Hunt’s.
“I’ve been going to this salon for years and started bringing my son about a year and a half ago,” Bays, 28, of Portage, told MLive / Kalamazoo Gazette. “It wasn’t the first time he had done this in her living room and she was yelling at us all the time (Saturday) in front of staff and customers.”
Bays said the encounter was the first time she had met Mott. However, Bays said the stylist told him she previously informed Mott that the boy was autistic. Bays is not disclosing the name of the stylist, who is the only person in the salon to have cut Grayson’s hair, without his permission.
Bays said she apologized to Mott during the incident, telling him more than once that her son was autistic.
“When I said to Michelle, ‘I’m sorry he’s autistic,’ she said, ‘I know,’ Bays said. ‘She confirmed to me that she knew about it.’
Bays said Mott “won’t stop screaming.”
“So I took this because we had to go,” Bays said. “I’ve never experienced anything else like this before. I understand that she doesn’t want kids in the living room, but she could have handled things very differently. She could have put us aside. was very insensitive to the fact that he has special needs. “
Bays’ husband Josh and their youngest son Wesley were also in the living room during the incident. They all walked out where the stylist finished the haircut.
It was outside the living room that Bays first met Hunt.
Bays said she has been dating the stylist for years and has never had a negative experience at M Spa. She said she and her husband were in shock at the way the family was treated on Saturday.
They were amazed on Sunday, she said, when they found Hunt’s post online, which had been shared thousands of times.
Bays also posted his own account of the incident on Facebook.
Bays and Hunt declare that they are not responsible for the creation of the Facebook pages calling for a boycott of Mr. Spa.
Bays said she didn’t think the incident would provoke such a widespread reaction, but many autism activists were interested in the story.
Local salons are also issuing statements about the incident, and one salon even offers free haircuts at Bays and Grayson.
“I don’t wish any harm on anyone, but I think it’s fair that people know that,” Bays said.
Contact Ursula zerilli at [email protected] or 269-254-5295. Follow her on Twitter.