‘Don’t blow up gym’ mum told
A young mother is fighting back after she says a member of staff at David Lloyd gym in Luton suggested she was a terrorist.
Sahdia Yousefi, 35, had just paid the £1,500 annual membership to join Capability Green gym on October 8 when she asked if she could leave her bag at reception while she looked round again.
She says a male member of staff said to her: “Yes, as long as it doesn’t blow up.”
Yorkshire-born Mrs Yousefi said: “I was so shocked I felt like someone had kicked me in the mouth. I said to the female staff member, ‘Did I just hear that correctly?’ and she replied, ‘He just means that we have had it all refurbished recently so the place would get ruined’.”
After complaining to the manager, Mrs Yousefi, said she was offered a free hot drink, three free training sessions and free towel hire for a month as a ‘goodwill gesture’.
Mrs Yousefi, who has a three-year-old daughter, said: “If I wasn’t insulted before, that drove me over the edge. They think it’s so minor that they can throw a few freebies at me and I will go away. I’m just so angry.
“I need to safeguard my child and myself from derogatory remarks and that is where this company failed. If I had wanted to be labelled a terrorist in a public place I would go to a BNP march where I am sure they would be happy to oblige.”
Legal advisor Mrs Yousefi, who lives in Luton town centre, said: “I just want to leave, I can’t trust them now. The club manager told me the issue had been resolved but I want a written apology. This man didn’t even know me, he didn’t know if I spoke English, he just judged me by the colour of my skin.”
A David Lloyd spokesperson said: “We are very sorry to learn that a comment allegedly made at David Lloyd Luton, which is being investigated, has caused Mrs Yousefi distress.
“David Lloyd Leisure does not tolerate discrimination of any form from either our staff or members and takes any such allegation very seriously.
“We are an equal opportunities employer and welcome all members, and this is reflected by the ethnic and cultural diversity of both our staff and membership.
“The club has endeavoured to resolve this matter with Mrs Yousefi as we value all of our members very highly. We will be willing to cancel Mrs Yousefi’s membership, as she has requested.”
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Weather for Luton
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 9 C
Wind Speed: 29 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 6 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North