Last week, Angela Peters went to a Walmart in Burton, Michigan to shop for some supplies for her small business, Heavenly Poems For You, which sells poem books and inspirational bookmarks. She picked up a backpack to hold all her things, and some duct tape for the DIY wallets she likes to make. Before leaving, she decided to stop into the nail salon inside the store, Da-Vi Nails, because she thought it was time for a manicure.
But when she got there, the salon turned her away. Peters uses a wheelchair and has cerebral palsy, which causes her hands to shake, and the employees said they weren't comfortable with that. "I was with a friend and the employee turned to her and said, We can’t do it because she moves too much," Peters told Refinery29.
This had never happened to Peters before. "I was initially in shock, but then I just rolled away because I knew that I can go to other nail salons in my area," she says.
But one Walmart cashier, who knows Peters from her frequent visits to the store, noticed what happened and stepped forward to help. "They won't do your nails?" Ebony Harris asked, according to Peters. "Well, want me to do your nails for you?"
On Harris' break, she took Peters to the nail polish aisle, picked out a blue sparkly polish, and then sat down with her in the seating area of the Subway restaurant inside the store.
"I just wanted to make her day special," Harris told a local CBS affiliate news station. "I didn’t really want her day to be ruined. That’s why I did it. And plus she’s a sweetie." That's when Tasia Smith, who works at Subway, took a picture and posted it to Facebook. Within days, the post had gone viral, with more than 5,000 reactions and 4,000 shares.
Since then, Harris has earned a ton of praise on the internet, in the community, and at her place of work. "Ebony simply wanted to make sure our customer’s day was special, and that’s the kind of person she is – someone with a wonderful attitude who goes the extra mile each day to make those around her feel important," Tara Aston, the senior manager of national media relations at Walmart, said in a statement to Refinery29. "We’re not surprised at her act of kindness. Her service to customers defines the spirit of Walmart, and we couldn’t be more proud of her.”
With all this attention, Peters wants to make clear that she doesn't harbor any resentment for the employees who turned her away. "I’m not mad," Peters says. "I don't want anybody fired. I just want them to know that this doesn’t happen to us. This isn't normal."
Peters hopes her story will educate any other nail salons that might encounter a customer with cerebral palsy in the future. "I would like nail salons to know that if you serve somebody with cerebral palsy, we would be willing to teach you how to paint our nails without causing a mess," Peters says. "We want to get our nails done just like everybody else."
According to Peters, she still sees Harris in that Walmart regularly — in fact, just yesterday Harris helped her get something off a high shelf. Peters, Harris, and Smith are currently trying to set up a nice dinner at a local restaurant very soon. "I'm overwhelmed because I wasn’t expecting this at all," Peters says. "I’m happy that people are enjoying this story because it’s such a kind story. I didn’t get mad. I didn’t start crying. I just smiled throughout the whole thing."
We reached out to Harris and Smith and will update this story when we hear back.