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Overweight Woman Irate After Spa Turns Her Away Out Of Fear She Would Break Massage Table

Plus-sized woman getting massage
Halfpoint/Getty Images

It’s 2023, and we’re all trying to live our best, happiest lives.

But service providers sometimes have to make harsh decisions for safety reasons that may not make other people feel bad, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

While providing massage services, Redditor Helpful-Trifle-4354 had to unfortunately turn away a woman who nearly exceeded the weight limit of his massage table.

When he was criticized for shaming her, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he should have risked providing her services anyway.

He asked the sub:

“AITA for telling someone they are too fat for a massage?”

The OP recently was booked to give a group of friends their massages.

“I (25 Male) work as a masseur for a somewhat small spa and have been doing for three years.”

“This week, I had to do something I have never done before, and that is to turn someone away.”

“What happened was that we had a group booking for four people. As per usual, I grabbed the questionnaire and waiver for the client I was going to take.”

But he had concerns about one of the potential clients.

“When I saw her, I became concerned as she was clearly over 400 pounds.”

“Aside from the weight capacity, I wasn’t sure if she would have been able to fit on the table, but I put that concern aside.”

“For the sake of safety, I decided to weigh her with the result being that she was 465 pounds.”

“With the table’s capacity being 495 pounds, I decided to not risk it.”

“In the most polite way I could, I told her that for her safety, I couldn’t service her. As an alternative, I offered our other services where her weight wouldn’t be an issue.”

The OP’s comment did not go over well.

“Unfortunately, she was too upset and embarrassed, and as a result, she and her group decided to cancel their appointments.”

“Because of this, three of my colleagues absolutely hate my guts now. They all believe that I should have been much more accommodating of her.”

“Am I the a**hole?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some thought the OP was right to play it safe.

“Massage Therapist chiming in here. Our tables have a weight limit. Plain and simple. If you knowingly have a person on your table who exceeds the table’s capacity and the table breaks, you are on the hook for a lawsuit.”

“On my patient intake forms, I ask for people’s height and weight so I can be more discreet about it and I’ve never actually had to turn anyone away.”

“RMTs in Canada have to have liability insurance to cover us for this exact reason, among others. Your coworkers could have stepped in if they felt there wasn’t a problem with her weight on their tables. But, big surprise here, they didn’t. NTA.” – SunnyTraveller2

“NTA. Everyone keeps pointing out that 465 is less than 495. But they fail to take into account that you’ll have to press down to give a massage. The table would certainly collapse.” – epostiler

“At her weight, it becomes a liability. To risk losing the cost of a massage (or three in this case) versus a stacked lawsuit because the table broke and now she has to see doctors and chiropractors etc. because we live in such a victim-driven society… the liability alone would be enough for me to tell a client we cannot service you.” – Pronebasilisk

“NTA. It’s not just her weight that is a factor. You apply force when you give a massage, and that needs to be taken into account, too. At the end of the day, she would have been too heavy, or at least dangerously close.”

“It’s not your fault for doing your job, especially when it’s for her safety as well as your own. That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.” – Keenzur

“Fat person here. Risking safety to make money would have been the AH move.”

“People need to grow up and accept that being fat is not ‘normal,’ ‘healthy,’ and it is ultimately a choice. Yes, it’s harder for some of us to keep off weight. I’m addicted to sugar and use it as my emotional crutch. I’m prone to depression and it makes it difficult to get up and exercise. There are a host of reasons why people get fat.”

“Yes, I know there are some outliers who physically can’t lose weight and have underlying medical issues. But let’s face it, those folks are few and far between. Much like like an alcoholic or drug addict or sex addict, I view my eating as a disease.”

“What’s sad and scary about our society right now is that everyone seems to ignore it. If I was drinking to extreme excess and puking my guts out at 12:30 PM on a Monday, no one would call that ‘healthy’ or get on people for pushing me to change that. However, no one bats an eye when I order dessert for two and eat it alone with a soda.”

“I weigh 250 pounds. I want to be a normal BMI for a multitude of reasons and my reasons for weighing 250 pounds are sad and seem unfair, but I could change it. Just like an alcoholic can stop drinking. NTA.” – JustinIsFunny

“NTA. Aside from the table capacity (with pressure), you had concerns about her fitting on the table. You provide a service and you have a right to decline service to anyone. We shouldn’t body shame people but it doesn’t change the fact that she is 465 pounds.”

“Whatever the reason for her weight, she has no right to be upset when that fact becomes a factor. Maybe it’s a medical condition or whatever, but it’s a fact and she needs to accept that it will become a factor in various aspects of life. You even suggested other services.”

“If someone is paralyzed below the waist and he is politely rejected from a 100-meter track race, they can’t blame the race organizers. It’s unfortunate but it’s a fact of their condition.” – kingofutopia

“It would have been irresponsible for you to service her. You have to put extra pressure, and I don’t know about your table but must massage tables are kind of small.”

“If that table breaks and that person falls, their embarrassment would be worse, and they could hold you liable for any injuries.”

“I come from a morbidly obese family. We have chairs for the extra big, and we had some of those chairs break. It’s hard for everyone but especially hard for the person on the floor.”

“NTA.” – Any-Case5594

But others could understand why the woman’s feelings were hurt.

“It sounds like all she did was feel embarrassed and leave. There’s no implication that she got upset at OP in any way. She of course has a right to personally feel upset or disappointed; I imagine it must have felt pretty terrible to be turned away for her weight.”

“People at that weight do have known limitations, but that doesn’t mean they are immune from having an emotional reaction to it. I think this is more like NAH.” – ThrowRAAloneTime2

“It’s a whole lot more humiliating to have a massage table collapse underneath you mid-massage because of your weight than being refused service due to your weight.”

“Personally, I would say NAH apart from OP’s coworkers. The woman in question presumably had no way of knowing that the table’s weight limit was dangerously close to her own weight, and OP couldn’t have safely or ethically ignored that weight limit in order to massage her.” – DumpstahKat

“NAH. My father was morbidly obese, and during his last visit to my house, he broke my couch and created a permanent fold in my brand-new guest mattress, all the way through the box spring.”

“Who knew furniture had weight ratings? (200-300 lbs per seat/cushion on average).” – One_Science8349

“NAH. You had a valid safety concern for the equipment and the client, and the woman wasn’t trying to force anything.” – tisquares

“NTA. While it would’ve been under the liability of the manufacturers who made the table, there is absolutely no mistake that (if this is America) she would’ve sued both your business and the manufacturer and anyone possible for any injury as a result of failure.”

“While I can totally understand her embarrassment, it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise when certain… [services] are not available to her at a certain weight. Just like how amusement parks will not let you ride if bars will not fit on you properly, or if you exceed their weight limit.” – DistortedVoltage

“NAH. I mean, I would not risk the 30 pounds in an elevator weight limit, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable not to want her to get injured. That said, I’m sure she felt very embarrassed, and I do feel sad for her. You made your best judgment call, and I think protocol sometimes safety over their feelings is for the best.” – LivTylerTwin

“NAH. As described, given the added pressure expected during a massage, but I would VERY much encourage you to use this as an example to the owner to underscore that you ought to be able to accommodate heavier individuals. I am sure that they make massage tables with higher weight limits and wider sizes. You didn’t just lose her business but those of the rest of the group and likely any number of people that they share this story with (embellished or otherwise).” – Zoethor2

Though the subReddit could understand how this circumstance would be hurtful and embarrassing to the client, they were grateful that the OP had valued safety above making money.

If he had allowed her to receive the service on the table, and the table had broken, the client could have been hurt, which arguably could be worse than hurting her feelings.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.