‘Jesus doesn’t love a girl like that’: Special needs teen berated at Surrey nail bar, says family

Surrey RCMP is investigating a brawl and allegedly hate-filled tirade directed at a girl with special needs in a Guildford nail salon last Friday.

Dani Lynes says she, her mother, and her 18-year-old sister Courtney, who has special needs, were getting their nails done when another client began berating the teen.

“This lady goes up to the counter, she’s paying … and the lady looks over in our direction, and says, ‘And you, quit your staring,’” Lynes told Global News.

“My mom says, ‘She’s special needs, she doesn’t understand,’ and the lady just went off from there, she said every possible vile thing you can think of to say about a special needs person.”

According to Lynes, those slurs included saying her mother should be ashamed for “bringing an idiot into the world,” that Courtney should die, and that “Jesus doesn’t love a girl like that.”

At that point, Lynes said things escalated into what she described as a “brawl.”

Management at the salon declined to be interviewed on camera, but supplied security video of the incident.

That video shows the two women arguing, with Lynes’ mother at one point appearing to push the other woman. A crowd of people can be seen trying to intervene as the two women face-off, gesticulating and apparently yelling at one another.

“Everybody was in shock, and the lady’s egging my mom on, ‘Hit me, hit me,’ she goes,” Lynes said.

“My mom has her arm back ready to hit this lady and everybody was getting involved trying to separate them.”

Lynes said salon staff were eventually able to separate the two and get the other woman outside, before locking the door.

The woman then stood outside the window making faces and continuing to yell at Courtney for several minutes, Lynes said.

“My little sister, she’s hysterical,” Lynes said, adding that staff and other customers tried to console her.

“She has her hands up and she’s saying ‘why I die? Why I die?’”

Both the Lynes and the other woman called police, who Lynes said took about 45 minutes to respond.

Surrey RCMP confirmed it is investigating the case, and will be speaking with witnesses and reviewing video.

However, Cpl. Elenore Sturko said it remains to be seen whether the incident could be categorized as a hate crime.

“If you are making a public statement which is a hateful statement against an identifiable group, yes, it can be considered a hate crime,” said Sturko.

“Could people be breaking the law by making these types of hateful statements? The answer is yes. But whether or not that is what has transpired here and whether all of those different criteria have been met will have to be determined through investigation.”

Sturko said no charges have been laid, and police have not forwarded any information to Crown counsel at this point.

But Lynes said from her perspective, it’s clear that the incident was motivated by discrimination.

“In my opinion that’s a hate crime,” she said.

“She was demeaning a girl with disabilities, and it makes me really sad for this world that we live in that people can just walk around and do stuff like this and get away with it.”

-With files from Grace Ke

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