May 22, 2010, Noah was refused service at Fantastic Sams by a hair dresser. The same salon that had cut his hair three times previously. Some of my family had gone to Supercuts and recommended I go there. My family told them what had happened to us at Fantastic Sams, and they said they would absolutely help us, and would cut Noah's hair. They told us they felt bad we ever had that kind of experience anywhere. Today was also Noah's third haircut there. We walked in, called ahead like all the times before. They immediately whip out a child's booster seat, I reminded them Noah still cannot sit on his own, both hair stylists that were there already knew that. They both had cut his hair previously. They said that they would no longer cut Noah's hair that their corporate office told them they do not have to cut children's hair that cannot sit on their own in a booster seat. They said they would refuse to cut Noah's hair if we had to have him sit in our laps.
Chris looked at me, knowing I was wounded, not sure which direction I was going to go. Was I going to fall to pieces and cry? Was I going to stand up and fight for what I know to be wrong in my heart? Or was I going to put my tail between my legs and leave? I asked when this became policy. They said it always has been, they're just now enforcing it. I asked what my options were with a child that was handicapped and would probably be his entire life. Coldly the stylist turned to me and said I guess you should learn to cut his hair at home or have someone come out the house to do it. I felt like my heart was going to burst out of my chest and shatter into a million unrecognizable pieces onto the floor. Not again. Not in public. Not with all these other people there looking at me and my "special needs disabled child." Like me, my husband and my child are a defect. I was reliving it all again, the same moment. Why do I feel constantly discarded by society? Why can't I have the same rights and opportunities for my child? What makes this right? Doesn't this go against the Americans with Disabilities Act in some way? Why isn't there an exception for Noah, he can't help he cannot sit. He cannot help he's different. I cannot help this is our life. Why won't someone hear me? And why has this happened twice now at two different hair salon chains?
A few people have questioned my faith recently, saying if it were stronger things would be going easier. This isn't about not crying out for God, not asking him for help, not having faith all things will improve. I refuse to believe God is sitting up there thinking any of this is okay. Because I do everyday, pray so very hard for it all to turn around and get easier. I'm doing the best I can. Trying all I can. There are days I'd love to give up and I can't. I probably should have gambled on the drive to the children's salon that the other special needs mother told me about. But I thought just going up the street two minutes from home would be easier on Noah and he had been there previously without any problems. I could probably write a thousand letters to corporate offices, no one cares. No one would listen. No one understands the hurt and pain they've caused us. But this isn't right. How can they legally do this to us time and time again?
The stylist finally conceding knowing she was wrong said they'd cut Noah's hair one last time but that we would be refused in the future if Noah could not sit on his own for a haircut. I probably should have walked out, but I didn't. I sucked up those tears for twenty long minutes while Noah complained and fussed, he feeds so easily off my emotions. I don't even have to display them, he feels it, he knows what is happening. I told Chris in the car with my tears set free, I'm just not sure I can keep going through this, he turned to me and said I understand it is my pain too. But he said we have no choice. Chris stores his pain inside while mine is often displayed for the world to see.
So where do I go from here? These types of battles could happen to us our entire lives. Will I be at a zoo and refused entry? Will we be at a restaurant and told to leave? How is this happening in today's world? We have not come as far as everyone would like to believe. Discrimination is so alive, so evil and so strong. How do I fight against it? My skin is only so thick, even though I do my best to put up a brave face, I'm so fragile inside and I crumble with pain. We deserve the same rights as everyone else. I deserve the option of taking my son for a haircut just like any other mother. I deserve that right. Why must I be banished to having his hair done at home? I'm so hurt and angry. I can't make people understand what this is like. It's not their pain, not their special child, they will likely never feel what it is to be me, or live this life. There was no compassion, no understanding today. It almost felt calculated, premeditated, and purposeful. And not one of the customers at the salon stood up for us, they all looked and stared. I cannot help that Noah makes people uncomfortable. He is a person, he is different, but he's so beautiful and precious. How can you tell him to go away? And how on earth as his mother do I teach him to survive in a world that hates him at such an early age? How do I do that without breaking his precious little spirit?
I want all these answers that I don't have. I just want someone to come and fix it, fix my heart, fix my pain. This isn't acceptable that this keeps happening. It isn't.
"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." C. S. Lewis.
Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.