A cancer survivor was left in tears after being forced to leave a store he was in after the owner complained his disfigured face ‘was putting off customers’.
65-year-old Kirby Evans, stopped at Forks Pit Stop store in Walterboro, South Carolina, on Tuesday (October 9), where he’d purchased some donuts and a drink, before going to sit down.
However, Kirby said before he could take a seat, he was confronted by the store owner who’d asked him to cover his face or leave.
Kirby is a skin cancer survivor, who was left without an eye and nose in order to save his life. He stated how he’s used to people staring at him.
Seven years ago, he had surgery to remove basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, from his face.
Speaking to KUTV he said:
The words that came out of her mouth hurt me so deep.
He said he can’t afford reconstructive surgery and is unable to wear an eye patch because the skin around it is so sensitive. A patch just rubs the area raw.
Kirby states he’s come to terms with how he looks, but said Tuesday’s ordeal was truly humiliating. The 65-year-old said he left the store crying.
His daughter, Brandy, was enraged by the situation.
She told UNILAD how her father had come to her to reveal what had happened:
I could tell he [Kirby] was upset right away. He told me she [the manager] asked him to cover his face in the store. He cried and all I could do was hug him and tell him not everyone feels the same way.
He said I can’t help the way I look, I didn’t ask for this. I’ve never seen my dad cry. It hurt me bad. I had so many emotions of hurt and anger – I felt his pain.
In a Facebook post by Brandy, which has – at the time of writing – been shared over 10,000 times, she wrote:
[The manager], grabbed him by his shirt and pulled him into her office. She told him “IF HE WAS GOING TO EAT IN HERE HE WOULD HAVE TO COVER HIS FACE!!” He left and went home in tears to tell me what happened. [sic]
My father is a cancer survivor he lost his left eye and nose to this awful cancer. My father was discriminated against because of the way he looks.
He cannot help what the cancer did to him. My father is the strongest man I know but, as he told me what happened to him, I watched tears roll out of his eye. It hurt me to see him hurt like this, especially over something he cannot help. [sic]
Brandy’s post continued:
You discriminated against MY farther (Kirby Evans) for the way he looks. Here are some words of advise for you.
DROP TO YOUR KNEES AND PRAY YOU NEVER GET CANCER BECAUSE IT DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE LIKE U DID TO MY FARTHER (KIRBY EVANS)!
Please every one hit the SHARE button THANK YOU ALL AND GOD BLESS ! I REMOVED THE GO FUND ME LINK FROM HERE
I DONT WANT THIS POST TO BE ABOUT MONEY I WANT TO KEEP THE TOPIC [sic]
According to Brandy, the woman who’s said to have told Kirby to ‘cover his face or leave’ responded to the public post, admitting to it and defending her decision.
The Facebook account, which has since been deactivated, wrote a comment which included the following:
I run a food service business where people dine in. I do not see absolutely anything wrong with what I did. He would come in at lunch time and sit at the food booths right at my busy time everyday.
I have bills to pay to and I work very hard to please my customers.
Kirby said he’s decided to share his story so she [the manager] and others can ‘find it in her heart to treat people with disabilities in a different manner’, before adding:
We don’t want to be treated like that. We are human beings.
Following Kirby’s ordeal, his daughter has since created a GoFundMe to cover his reconstructive surgery costs.
At the time of writing, the page has received over $55,000 in donations. The target is $75,000.
Brandy’s GoFundMe post stated:
My father is also on a fixed income and can not afford the surgeries it would to take to fix his where his nose was.
Speaking to UNILAD, Brandy told us how Kirby’s been doing since the incident:
I sit at night and read to him everyone’s warm comments. It makes him smile and he hopes getting his story out will help others who have these scars not hide their faces.
When UNILAD asked Brandy about the surgery and how Kirby feels she revealed:
He’s not looking forward to it, not really. It’ll be a lot of pain he will have to endure and he is scared – I would be too.
I thought [setting up the GoFundMe] would help make his life a little easier and get him back going to the doctor to make sure he is still cancer free.
He’s going to go talk with the doctors and find out all that has to be done before he can make up his mind, but he knows he’ll have to have the eye socket fixed.
Here’s hoping Kirby never has to face discrimination again and is doing well following his ordeal.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 8pm).