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A Massage Therapist Weighed A Customer & Told Her She Was Too Heavy To Get A Massage On A Table

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A massage therapist

Nowadays, most of us are trying to be as inclusive as possible and to change our attitudes towards issues like body-shaming and fatphobia.

But one man found himself having to make a choice between a client's feelings and their safety, and isn't sure he made the right one.

Posting in the "r/AmITheA--hole" (AITA) subReddit, where people go to figure out if they were in the wrong in a conflict, he described the dilemma.

The man, who is a massage therapist, explained in his post that he ran into a major problem when a very overweight client came to him for a massage.

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The massage therapist chose to weigh his client and then turn her away because she was too heavy for his massage table.

The woman came to the spa where he works as part of a group of four. As he greeted her, he noticed her size, and "became concerned as she was clearly over 400lbs."

He was concerned both that she would not fit on his massage table, but also that she would not be safe on it, given the tables' weight limits.

"For the sake of safety," he writes, "I decided to weigh her with the result being she was 465lbs."

Since his table is rated to hold 495, he "decided not to risk it," because of course massage therapists use enormous amounts of pressure when giving massages.

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The overweight woman was upset and humiliated by the experience, and chose to leave the spa without getting a massage.

The massage therapist writes that "in the most polite way I could, I told her that for her safety I can't service her," and instead offered her alternative services.

But, he says "she was too upset/embarrassed," and so she and her group canceled all of their appointments and left.

He made the choice out of an abundance of caution, but his coworkers' responses have him questioning if he did the right thing.

"Three of my colleagues absolutely hate my guts now," he writes, because they think he should have been "much more accommodating" of the woman.

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Commenters on Reddit mostly agreed that the massage therapist made the best, safest decision in a difficult situation. 

"People seem to forget that it's not only the weight of the person getting the massage," one user wrote, "the person giving the massage applies pressure to the body, and that adds to the weight."

Another Redditor agreed. "My mom was a [massage therapist], and...lot of force goes into a good proper massage, much more than you'd expect."

Others pointed out specific safety dangers the situation could have posed. One user wrote, "The scariest part would be having them turn from face down to face up."

"Those tables are NOT bottom-heavy. I guarantee they would have ended up on the floor."

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But some pointed out that there were ways this awkward and hurtful situation could have been avoided.

One user suggested, "listing any limitations for getting a massage (weight, injury, ect) clearly both on the website and on the questionnaire and waiver forms."

Such a procedure "could have saved that lady from being embarrassed and her friends canceling," they went on to say.

Others agreed, pointing out that making the massage therapist make this judgment call is also a potential liability issue.

"[The] employer needs to include weight in their safety requirements for different procedures, and have clients review and sign off," one Redditor wrote.

"Having employees make ad hoc judgment calls is just going to cause issues."

And one commenter pointed out that most of us don't give enough thought to the fact that our world is simply not built to accomodate people of size, and it puts larger people in a terrible position.

They wrote, "I have an obese friend, I thought all my chairs were sturdy [but] she sat on a chair and the legs came off.

"I didn’t care about the chair at all, I was embarrassed for her and worried she hurt herself."

A person who claimed to weigh close to 400 pounds echoed this sentiment.

"I'm 380lbs, and I've broken many a chair since I gained this weight. It is a fact of life, and not something I can easily change."

Here's hoping we can learn to make our world more accommodating for everyone and everybody.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.