It was shaping up to be a good day for Sharyn Peoples. She was in Boca Raton, driving to the Mizner Park mall where she was going to act in a play. To save time, she opted for the mall’s valet service.
The show was a success and all was going well until she went to pick up her car and got a bombshell that ruined more than her day.
The Cruel Fat-Shaming Note Left on a Valet Ticket
Per NBC Miami, Peoples said the words ‘play, dress and fat’ were scribbled on her valet ticket. “I was mortified,” she said of reading the note. Angry and with the motivation to act, she reached out directly to LAZ Parking of Florida to complain.
To her shock, instead of sympathy, she was told to lighten up. “It’s only words and it’s from some kid,” she recalled. “He said, ‘You know, we employ 18- and 20-year-old kids.’”
As Peoples’ day went from bad to worse, an email from Dan Silva of LAZ Parking brought her some much-needed good news.
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“Please accept our sincerest apologies,” wrote Silva, adding that “physical appearance will not be written on tickets” and that “this type of situation will never occur again.”
Silva also offered Peoples free valet parking for a year along with a gift card to a Mizner park restaurant. Let’s hope the staff is trained in human decency.
In a company statement, LAZ general manager Luis Macedo said that “We deeply regret this incident and the company has apologized to the customer and the employee has been disciplined.”
How Fat-Shaming Is a Serious Issue
The reality is that fat-shaming is more than ‘only words.’ One study reports that “weight-shaming can lead to negative health outcomes, including the development of an eating disorder.”
What’s scary is how young the victims are and how they cope. Per the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), “40-60% of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) are concerned about their weight or about becoming too fat.”
What’s more disturbing is that it adds that over half of teenage girls use dangerous weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes and vomiting.
The fact that young kids are dealing with such dangerous issues should ring alarms nationwide that fat shaming is not kids’ play.
How One Woman Reminds Us to Be Kinder to Each Other
Sadly, this isn’t the only story of cruel mall notes. One mother’s day out with her daughter was ruined when someone left a mean note mocking her disability.
As for Peoples, although she never met the author of the cruel note, she has only pity for them.
“I feel bad for you that your parents obviously didn’t raise you well enough, and I hope you understand this is not at all acceptable,” she said.
Sadly, there are many examples of bad apples not falling far from the tree. On the other hand, sometimes life can be the best teacher. Let’s hope that mean employee has learned a lesson in kindness.
For Sharyn Peoples and all of us, we’re doing our best to play our part in life. In this play, we should all either encourage and applaud each other or keep quiet.