LAYTON, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - "Disgustingly Obese." Those were the words to describe 19-year-old Justine Elwood, Shift Leader at Cold Stone Creamery in Layton.
What started as a typical Monday night for Elwood at the Cold Stone located at 936 Main Street D, took a drastic turn when a woman came into the location with her kids.
"She was giving me dirty looks the whole time and it was kind of weird but I helped her and then she said a comment to her kids, something like, 'if you continue to eat too much ice cream you're going to look like her,' and I continued helping her, and that was it," said Elwood, who was bullied about her weight.
The woman didn't just make those comments to Elwood's face. She then took to Yelp.com, a website that allows people to publish crowd-sourced reviews about local businesses, to write her own review on Wednesday, which has since been deleted, which started out complimenting the business, then quickly turned to focus on Elwood's appearance.
"Coldstone has been one of our favorite places to go as a family and enjoy quality ice cream, specifically the Layton location. Unfortunately, I have had a specifically unsatisfying experience the last few times we have come into the store. One of their female employees Jessie? Jennifer? J something, is disgustingly obese, and each time we come in, although she does her job, and is very polite, instantly makes my appetite disappear. I understand the need to hire bias free, but when someones [sic] looks interfere with my experience at an establishment [sic] I can't help but complain. As a mother I don't like my children thinking they will look that way by eating too much ice cream.Overall a good establishment with fast service, and delightful treats. We love Coldstone, [sic] just not all the employees."
Justine's mother Daphne Felley told ABC4 Utah's Brittany Johnson, after reading the post on Yelp, she was initially upset.
"At first I was really angry and I wanted to find the person and say face to face what are you thinking to say that kind of stuff and then it turned to well, you might as well make a good thing of it because what are you going to do? Justine is the one who said she forgave her so after that we just thought we'd make something good of it," said Felley.
Felley posted the Yelp review on her Facebook page Wednesday night, and since then, Utahns have shown an outpouring of support.
"It just blew up," said Felley. "The community outpouring has been amazing. it's just amazing to see people support somebody when they don't even know who she is."
Saturday, during Elwood's first night back at work since the incident, people showed up and brought roses, balloons and notes to show their support.
"It's never good to hear those things about yourself,," said Elwood. "You know, it definitely didn't make me feel good, for sure, but the community and stuff and all the support I've gotten from my employer and just from friends and coworkers has been amazing. It's been a good experience."
Justine is going to school to become a doctor. A GoFundMe page has been setup to help her reach her goal.
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