PORTAGE, Mich. – A woman said she was verbally attacked by the owner of M Spa and Salon in Portage because her two-and-a-half-year-old son with autism was crying and screaming during his haircut.
The story has received national attention after another customer who was there posted about the incident on Facebook.
Ashley Bays said she schedules her days around routines.
She said it works best for her two children, especially her oldest son Grayson.
“Every single haircut that we have had has been challenging. He cries through the entire cut because it’s very scary for him,” said Bays. “He doesn’t like people touching his head or ears.”
That’s why Ashley chose to take him to someone she trusts, someone who has cut his hair two times previously.
About ten minutes into Grayson’s haircut on Saturday, Bays said the owner of M Spa, Michelle Mott, approached her.
Bays said, “The salon owner came up to us yelling in front of all the clientele, as well as my husband, and younger son, that my son, Grayson, was out of control and she couldn’t have this type of behavior in her salon.”
She continued, “So I said, I’m sorry. He is autistic. And she said, I know. And so I got up and we walked out, and the stylist followed us saying she would like to finish cutting his hair in the lawn.”
Another Client, Vanessa Hunt, said she was there too. She posted what she said happened to the Bays family on Facebook.
That story has been shared more than 31,000 times as of Tuesday night. Someone even formed a Facebook group boycotting the salon in Portage.
It was not the reaction Bays was expecting.
“I feel really bad for the employees that work there because they are impacted negatively because of her behavior,” said Bays.
But she can understand why someone would feel passionately about this issue.
“I was just very angry that someone could be so ignorant and rude to yell at you in front of our children,” she said.
We attempted to reach Mott, the owner of M Spa for comment, but we were asked to leave the spa and no one came to her door at her home in Portage.
Bays said she too is waiting to hear from Mott, “Has been no apology and apparently she (Mott) is trying to spin this as a safety issue. A safety issue for who? I don’t know.”
According to the Kalamazoo Gazette, an attorney representing M Spa issued a response saying, “…spa ownership addressed a situation which posed both an immediate, increasing safety concern to the child and a concern for other spa patrons.”
The statement goes on to say the owner acted appropriately. FOX 17 attempted to reach the lawyer representing the salon and were told we can expect a response on Wednesday.
Bays told us she expects to tell her story to CNN on Wednesday.