She struggled to hold back her sobs as her voice broke, “I don’t…understand?” The young lifeguard sneered at her and gave her a disgusted look before ordering her to immediately leave the water.
It all began as a fun family outing. That’s why it was so shocking that she was humiliated and mistreated on the same day. The small children playing in the area were not the issue. The water park’s expensive tickets and food were also not an issue. This was a much more serious problem. This woman had only been in the water for a few minutes when she was ejected from the park. To say she was enraged would be an understatement.
Madelyn Sheaffer decided to swim in a bikini at the Adventure Oasis Water Park in Independence after working hard to lose weight. Employees, she claims, discriminated against her by asking her to cover up or leave.
Sheaffe was a dedicated mother from Odessa, Missouri, who always put family first and went to great lengths to ensure her children were taken care of.
One day, as she leaned over to take a bath, she slipped and fell into the tub. Emergency personnel arrived, but Madelyn was in too much pain to be moved, so she turned them away. She spent three days unable to leave; She realized then that she had neglected herself while trying to care for her family. This was a wake-up call that made her realize it was time to make a change because her lifestyle had been severely harming her body.
It served as Sheaffer’s cue to start making efforts to lose weight, which she duly did. She was more concerned about her health than she was about how people might perceive her. She successfully lost a significant amount of weight (nearly 100 pounds!) as the years passed, and she also became healthier.
Sheaffer took her kids to the water park for some fun in the sun. Or at least, that was her intention. Unfortunately for the Scheaffer family, things rapidly turned sour.
Instead of a day full of thrilling water rides, laughter, and decadent amusement park treats, Sheaffer was judged, ridiculous, and humiliated just a few moments after she arrived at the park. To make things worse, she was told to leave the facilities. But Sheaffer decided to stand her ground and fight for her right to be there just like everybody else.
It all started when Sheaffer had made the decision to try something she had never thought of doing before earlier that day: she took a long-forgotten swimsuit out of its box. She grinned at her image in the mirror because it was so accurate!
She decided to wear her bikini. However, she never expected the day to end with shame and an epic battle for her rights.
When Sheaffer walked to the pool and took off her dress, she became aware of all the eyes burning a hole into her back. Why was everyone suddenly staring at her?
Feeling a bit self-conscious, she sat down again and covered herself with a towel. However, she looked around and noticed that both men and women, young and old, were still gawking at her.
It wasn’t long before she realized that two female teenage employees were giving her the side-eye at a distance. Out of her comfort zone but determined to enjoy herself, she cracked her warmest smile at them.
She then noticed that the two employees started whispering to each other. She couldn’t understand why they would keep on looking at her so smugly, but she chose not to make a big deal out of it. After all, she didn’t want her family day to be spoiled! It was too late for that, though.
Sheaffer mentally prepared herself and dropped her towel again. Looking around, she sat down and slid into the cool water. She closed her eyes and focused on the sensation of the cool water swirling around her and began to relax.
However, a few seconds later, after smirking back at Sheaffer, the employees approached her and said something that left her speechless.
Apparently, some people had complained that her bikini was too revealing. Even though she had mentally prepared for this, she was still furious when those girls came right out and said it.
Towering over the mom in the pool in a display of power, the young girl facetiously told her that her bikini bottoms were “too small” and that they were “inappropriate”. “This is a family park”, they added. Sheaffer’s face flushed. Could they really kick her out just because they didn’t like her bikini?
Sheaffer felt mortified, but then she stopped herself. She knew that she was wearing “full” bikini bottoms, how dare they say otherwise! She looked around in confusion at all the other girls at the water park.
Her blood began to boil when she saw that most of them were showing a lot more skin than she was. There was something very wrong with this picture. She wasn’t buying it.
Sheaffer’s emotions ran wild, fighting each other on her face. She felt a profound sense of shame and embarrassment that the young employees were commenting on her body. She felt totally violated. But then, she stopped herself. Now, she was angry. She knew exactly why they were picking on her.
“I was embarrassed for a second, and then it was no, no way,” she said. It was time to fight.
“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?” She said. “I am comfortable in my bikini. I am happy with who I am. 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.”
Sheaffer turned to face the staff members who were still looking her up and down, accusingly. If the incident at the water park had happened years before, she said, the normally shy woman may not have had the courage to stick up for herself.
But she knew she had to take a stand. She was clearly being singled out.
“Well I am not covering up,” She said, enraged. “And if you expect me to leave, you had better call the police and have them escort me out.”
The officers however arrived, and to Sheaffer’s dismay, booted her from the waterpark! “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,” Madelyn wrote on her now-viral Facebook post.
“They were compassionate. They, too, thought it was ridiculous.”
“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,” She continued in her post. “I will not be discriminated against because I look too good in one.”
She continued: “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.”
“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,” Sheaffer said angrily.
“I have a hundred and one messages for women,” Sheaffer added, saying, “My top message to women would be to say don’t let anyone tell you that you are not good enough. Take time to honor yourself. Women should be comfortable in their skin and be comfortable with the way they look. Imperfections are what makes us all beautiful.”
Watch the video below for more details: