They started out by having a fun family outing. That’s why it was so surprising that she would be humiliated and treated unfairly all on the same day. The little kids playing weren’t the problem. Neither was the expensive price of the tickets and food at the water park. The issue was more serious. This woman had been in the water for just a couple of minutes when she was kicked out of the park. She was furious.
Her Name Is Madelyn Scheaffer
Madelyn Scheaffer is a dedicated mother from Odessa in Missouri. She’s the kind of woman who would do absolutely anything she can to ensure her family was happy and taken care of. However, something significant happened when she was in her mid-30s. It shattered her entire world.
Seven years later, several employees in the water park attempted to undo her hard work. She really has been through it all. It was an understatement to say she had a tough time. The water park really affected her so you can imagine that whatever happened there was bad.
It Was Time To Make A Decision
In 2005, she discovered something about herself that made her completely reconsider her choices in life. She had been suffering from a slipped disc after she had an accident. She slipped and fell into the bathtub after leaning over too far.
The way she was living wasn’t healthy for her body either. So, one day, she decided enough was enough. This was the moment when she realized she needed to make some changes. The pain of a slipped disc is enough to make anyone turn their life around.
It Was A Sign
Back when the accident happened, emergency workers came over in a short amount of time. However, Madelyn was in so much pain that she refused to move. She went so far as sending the responders a way – she just laid in the bathtub for a couple of days.
A Sense Of Calm
After spending that amount of time there, she suddenly felt a sense of calm come over her body. None of what happened was part of her plan. She saw it all as a sign that she was neglecting herself too much while taking care of the rest of the family.
She Was Determined To Change
Madelyn said, “That should have been the first sign for me that I needed to lose weight, but it took me another year before I made the decision to do something.” Still, something incredible happened when she finally mustered up all her willpower and strength.
Best Shape Of Her Life
Two years later, she was able to lose an incredible hundred pounds. It was a major life change. Five years after that, she was still in great shape. However, she had no clue that she would be getting into one of the biggest battles of her life.
Mustering The Bravery To Do It
At age 43, she weighed 170 pounds. Madelyn was most definitely in the best shape of her life – it was the most confident she had ever felt. One hot day, she decided to try something completely new that she hadn’t tried before. She knew full well that her body wasn’t perfect. All the same, she put on a new black bikini and went to Adventure Oasis Water Park with her family. That’s when things took a turn for the worse.
Someone Was Watching Her
When they were all at the water park, Madelyn looked at the bodies of the people there, both young and old. She wasn’t jealous at all! By that time, she was happy with the way she had looked. She had worked so hard and it paid off. Little did she know that someone was secretly watching her.
Confidence is Key
It’s such a hard challenge to lose weight. Not to mention, to build up the confidence to wear a bikini after being overweight. Even when weight is lost, the confidence doesn’t come automatically. Madelyn felt good – but soon that would change.
She Could Not Believe It
She put away her towel, sat down, and then decided to take a dip in the cold water. After being inside for about five minutes, she was approached by two female staff members. They told Madelyn something that she couldn’t immediately process.
Employees Say What
She squinted up at them in the sunlight. She asked them to repeat what they had said. Maybe she had just misheard them. She was completely stunned by what these female staff members told her. She was speechless.
Her “Inappropriate” Outfit
One of the women sighed and repeated what she had just said. She told Madelyn that she was wearing “too small” and “inappropriate” bikini bottoms. “This is a family park” she continued. How could this have been right?
According To Who’s Standards?
Madelyn was wearing “full” bikini bottoms at the time. She was confused as she stared around at all the other women in the water park. Plenty of them were wearing scantier swimwear! There was something clearly wrong there.
She Felt Violated
Madelyn’s emotions were all over the place, and her face wasn’t able to hide them. She couldn’t help but feel deeply embarrassed and shameful after hearing what the female employees said to her. She felt almost violated.
Taking A Stand
She was able to stop herself from feeling like that after a few moments. Instead, she became very angry. “I was embarrassed for a second, and then it was no, no way,” she said. She had worked way too hard to let these women break her down.
They Singled Her Out
“My body is different than the young girls that were walking around in their bikinis, but why should I be made ashamed of my body?” Madelyn explained. She continued, “I am comfortable in my bikini. I am happy with who I am.”
Embracing Your Body
“My first reaction was why are you singling me out? They said that my bottoms were inappropriate. That was funny to me because they are full-size bottoms.” Women in all shapes and sizes should be able to accept their bodies without being shamed for it.
Time To Take A Stand
She turned around to look at the staff members. They were still looking her body up and down with accusing expressions on their faces. If this incident had taken place several years ago, Madelyn knew she would have been much too shy to stick up for herself. Well, this was a different time for her.
Standing Up For Herself
She knew it was time she took a stand. After all, it was clear that these staff members were singling her out for no real reason. She wouldn’t let her confidence be broken down so easily – not after she took so long to build it up.
They Gave Her Two Options
The young women were refusing to let the matter go. They went on to tell Madelyn that she had two options. She could either slip on a pair of shorts over her bikini bottoms, or she could leave the park. She was absolutely furious and asked to talk to their supervisor.
“Well I am not covering up,” she said to them. She went on, “And if you expect me to leave, you had better call the police and have them escort me out.” Aside from being embarrassed about being singled out, she felt like she was standing up for women as a whole, not just herself.
She Was Booted Out
To her dismay, the police were called and the officers eventually made their way to the water park to kick her out. “Fifteen minutes later the police did arrive and said that while they did not agree, they had to do their job. ‘We can’t actually say anything,’ they said as we walked outside… but I hope from the expressions on our face you can tell how we feel.”
Even The Police Agreed
Madelyn took to Facebook to write about her injustice. Naturally, her post went viral. She wrote, “They were compassionate. They, too, though it was ridiculous.” The police surely knew what should and shouldn’t be allowed.
Looking Too Good In A Bikini
“I am a 43-year-old woman who did not have the confidence or the body, to put on a bikini until [I was] 40 years old,” Madelyn went on. She said, “I will not be discriminated against because I look too good in one.”
Wearing A Bikini At Any Age
She continued by describing the bathing suit: “This was not a thong. It was a standard, summertime, two-piece, string bikini… the same as everyone else, who felt confident enough in their body to wear one.” Regardless of body type, she knew if someone else had been wearing the same thing, they shouldn’t have gotten the same unfair treatment.
It Was Completely Unfair
“I felt like it was both age and body discrimination and I felt like I could look around me and I could see a handful of other girls half my age, wearing the same size swimming suit and not being singled out and told to put on clothes or leave,” she said angrily. The question remaining was, what could she do about all this?
It Went Viral On Facebook
After Madelyn explained her side of things on Facebook, people from all over the world found out about the way this water park discriminated against her. They couldn’t believe the way the staff of the park acted. Madelyn didn’t stop there, however.
Spreading The Word
Madelyn was aware that the park staff wouldn’t realize their mistakes by just online shaming and posting. What else was she able to do? She intended on blowing this whole thing up – even more so for the other women in the world who didn’t have the courage to do the same for themselves.
She Received Local Support
“Long story short, I called the media and will be on tonight’s local 41 news. Several people walked out while I waited outside for the newsman, and told me how ridiculous this all was, and complimented me on my swimsuit,” she said. We’re happy that the post got more attention than she thought was possible.
Supporters From All Over The World
Madelyn took to Facebook to express her gratitude for the way her post was received. It was incredible that so many strangers had her back! Madelyn said, “In addition to other countries already mentioned, I have now heard from Greece, China, Hong Kong…and received over 500 beautiful letters from Brazil. I have been wanting to see the world, and now the world is coming to me, and sending much Love.”
Appreciation For The Human Body
“One thing I have learned so far is that there is a much greater viewpoint and perspective of the human body than what is to be found in Independence, Missouri worldwide… and I thank and appreciate you for that!” Madelyn shared.
Appreciating What We Have
She continued, “Much Love to those who express pride over shame for all shapes, sizes, in addition to various ages and stages, of this beautiful human body we inhabit our time on earth.” But what was she trying to achieve by doing this?
Money Is Not Going To Fix The Problem
“While I stand by my grievance that I was discriminated against at Adventure Oasis Water Park, and I do not believe it should happen again,” she said, “It is not money that is going to correct the issue, but a change in the swimming park’s “appropriate swimming attire” policy, and also an improvement involving better education and orientation of their park management.”
Change In Policy
We agree that this is the only the to improve things over there. We hope they will listen to her words sooner rather than later. Unless those are their standards, in which case, should be enforced equally and fairly. Unfortunately, these things are happening everywhere. In fact, this next story is somehow even crazier…
Sarah Villafane is a student who exercises in the student gym at her college frequently. She studies at the College of Charleston. Up until this point, she never had any problem going there. After all her classes, Sarah made her way to the gym, but what they had to say to her wasn’t okay.
Her Gym Top
That day, Sarah had three classes and she wore the same outfit to all of them. She often wore gym clothes during the class to save herself time. Not to mention, this is a rather common habit for busy people. It’s not unusual at all.
A Matching Set
Sarah chose to wear black leggings and a black matching cropped sleeveless shirt that day. The shirt was slightly cropped, not showing too much of her torso since her leggings were high-waisted. This is a common combination when it comes to gym attire.
Going about her day, as usual, Sarah was doing her exercises when she was approached by a gym employee. This employee said she needed to change her shirt since it was inappropriate. Sarah couldn’t believe what she was hearing. What was she going to do?
No Other Option
All she did was tell the employee the truth: that she didn’t have another shirt. And so, she continued with her workout and went about her session as if nothing happened. While she was slightly embarrassed, this wasn’t the end of it.
Moving over to the back corner of the gym, Sarah worked on her abs on the floor. To her dismay, another staff member approached her this time. She recalls the employee asking her to put her shirt back on. Her response? “I have a shirt on.”
The Staff Member Argued
The employee replied, “no that’s not a shirt. You have to wear a whole shirt.” Sarah asked in response, “how is this not a shirt?” The staff member went on to explain that she needed full coverage at the gym.
The staff member explained that if Sarah had a problem, they always have their ‘boss’ on the premises and she simply laughed, saying they can send him over at any time if they were actually being serious.
It was then when she was approached by the manager of the gym. He told her that if she didn’t change her shirt, she would be required to leave. This, of course, was even more embarrassing for Sarah – it was happening in front of all the other students in the gym.
Referred To As Boss
The manager said to Sarah, “I need you to put on a shirt or I’m gonna have to ask you to leave.” Again, Sarah said, “But I have a shirt on.” He wasn’t having it. He said, “Are you gonna put a shirt on?”
Gym clothes are meant to be comfortable, wearable, and sometimes show a little skin for the heat to escape while exercising. Throughout the decades, any gym had people wearing tight, flexible, and even showier clothing than what Sarah happened to be wearing.
Embarrassed, Sarah was forced to leave. This was definitely not the way the situation should have been handled. The employees could have gone about it in a nicer way and explained that it was the policy – they just had to enforce it. This wasn’t the case in this story. Well, Sarah intended on doing something about it.
Taking It To Media
When she got home, Sarah went on her Facebook and decided to explain the situation and her frustrations. She was absolutely livid. She even spoke about how even if her top was a sports bra, it was still athletic wear. It should have been allowed.
The responses to her post were split. Some agreed with Sarah while others agreed with the gym. Some people even went on to comment on the fact that she would wear that to classes but it was inappropriate for the gym – not class. “I would question how appropriate they are for class or lectures or discussions with your professors,” said Caryl Hogan.
Later on, the gym reached out to her and said they had a good reason for handling the situation the way they did. This reason leads us to believe that this situation was simply mishandled. They should have explained it all from the get-go. So what was the reasoning?
The gym said that covered t-shirts are expected and part of the dress code for sanitary reasons. While the dress code at the front of the gym says “Athletic wear must be worn.” However, the employees discussed her coverage and didn’t mention a thing about sanitization.
Some comments on Sarah’s post said the same thing – that their own college gyms required students to wear full shirts that weren’t cut-off or cropped. This was to minimize skin contact with machines and equipment there.
This reasoning seems to be valid. We think that the employees should have simply explained it from the beginning. Also, the staff members should have been friendlier and more helpful in explaining to Sarah why they had those rules in the first place.