A disabled woman who criticised retailer Home Bargains after claiming she was mocked by one of it’s staff hopes the company’s next steps will prevent anyone else having a similar experience.
Dianna Slade was visiting the Bidston Moss store in Merseyside last month when symptoms of her neurological disorder flared up that affects her movement.
And to the 37-year old’s horror she was ridiculed by employees after battling to maintain her balance while picking up car mats she’d dropped onto a worker’s back, according to her claims.
Already embarrassed by what happened, she added that she heard a male staff member say “it’s a bit early to be drinking, isn’t it?” followed by “heartless giggles”.
Dianna took to social media afterwards to post an emotional reaction video showing her violently shaking her hands and told viewers that no staff offered to help her despite her wearing a sunflower lanyard that is worn by people across the country to indicate they may need extra help.
In response yesterday (September 28), however, the Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) sufferer declared a victory for disability rights after hearing Home Bargains would be joining the Sunflower Lanyard Scheme.
Dianna, meanwhile, has since hailed the decision as ‘wonderful’ and expressed her gratitude for the hundreds of messages she’s received since posting her video, reports the Liverpool Echo.
A spokesperson for the retail giant said: “We are pleased to confirm we have registered with the hidden disabilities scheme with the aim of raising better awareness of the hidden disability sunflower across all of our stores.
“We appreciate the patience of our customers at this time as we begin to take the necessary steps to implement internal training for colleagues across all of our stores nationwide.”
Dianna hopes such training will ensure nobody suffers in the same way she claims she did, adding that it will prove her complaints were worthwhile.
“What had happened so far was bad enough but that just humiliated me,” she said.
“Saying that to someone who’s visibly disabled or as visibly struggling as I was, it was heartless and really uncalled for. It was b*tchy and unnecessary and it really hurt my feelings.
“Before it happened I could feel an onset of fatigue coming over me, so I felt very wobbly and my body started to twitch. Knowing my body as I do that means it’s time to rest.
“I’d picked up these car mats because they were on sale, but with my wobbliness they fell onto the floor in the aisle and flopped onto the back of one of the staff.
“I was so apologetic, but it clammed me up a bit. I panicked and I struggled to pick the mats up. I was using my crutches as a tripod between my legs and I was holding my basket as well.
“The staff member was looking at me like I was insignificant and the other staff were just watching me. I managed to get the mats up after one of them held them up for me.
“I pulled everything together and I started hobbling to the tills. I could really feel the panic attack coming on. My mascara was down by my chin at this point and I was shaking.
“As I turned around the corner of the aisle I heard a male voice say ‘it’s a bit early to be drinking isn’t it?’ and the three of them had a little giggle at my expense.
“When I was at the tills my body just wouldn’t co-ordinate properly because the more worked up I get the worse things are.
“It’s not like it was the end of the day and they were tired and fed up with customers. I get he might not have been a morning person but there’s no need to insult someone because they’re disabled.
“Maybe he just thought he’d brighten his colleagues day with a joke but when it’s at the expense of someone else, he should have done better. Make a joke about the weather.
“You wouldn’t expect a staff member to take the mick out of someone for their race, gender or sexual identity so why is disability any different.
“When I got in the car, half of me was blaming myself but the other half of me knew that wasn’t fair. You could see how much I was shaking on the video.
“I was feeling very small and insignificant. Making the video was my way of sticking up for myself because there was no way I could storm in there and confront anyone.”
Dianna’s symptoms first appeared after injuring a disk in her spine in 2016, but before her accident she was an outgoing training consultant saving for a mortgage.
Functional Neurological Disorder affects the nervous system by sending unnecessary pain signals, triggering chronic fatigue and seizures while hindering the sufferer’s ability to perform everyday tasks.
The 37-year-old said her confidence was already very low and the treatment she claimed to have suffered at Home Bargains meant she wouldn’t return until staff are fully trained.
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