MENU
component-ddb-728x90-v1-01-desktop

'Hurt me so deep': Cancer survivor says he was asked to hide face in South Carolina store

Cancer survivor Kirby Evans, whose face is disfigured from a procedure, said he was humiliated at a store when asked to cover his face or leave. (WCIV)

*This story was updated Oct. 18, 2018 with statements from the owner of the Forks Pit Stop.

A Walterboro man is sharing an ugly side of discrimination after an incident at a convenience store on Tuesday.

Kirby Evans, 65, said he stopped for donuts and a drink at the Forks Pit Stop in Walterboro. Shortly after he sat down to eat, he said the manager came up to him.

"Next thing I know, she jerked me into her office," Evans said. "The words that came out of her mouth hurt me so deep," Evans said.

During their conversation inside the office, Evans says the manager told him he was scaring away customers and asked him to cover his face or leave.

"How can a person eat anything with his face covered?" Evans asked.

Seven years ago, Evans had surgery to remove basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, from his face.

His left eye and entire nose was removed, leaving his face disfigured.

Evans says he cannot afford reconstructive surgery and can't wear an eye patch because the skin around it is so sensitive, a patch rubs it raw.

Evans has come to terms with how he looks, but said Tuesday's ordeal was truly humiliating. Evans says he left the store crying.

Evans' daughter, Brandy, enraged by what she says her father told her, posted about it on social media. It was shared thousands of times.

Not long after, Forks Pit Stop owner Donna Crosby responded to Evans' public post, admitting to asking Evans to cover his face, and defending her decision.

"I run a food service business where people dine in," she wrote, adding that she approached Evans about the issue in private, not in front of customers. "I do not see absolutely anything wrong with what I did. He would come in at lunch time and sit at the food booths right at my busy time everyday. I have bills to pay to and I work very hard to please my customers."

Crosby initially could not be reached for comment in response to the Evans' accusations.

On Wednesday, October 17, Crosby provided a written statement, in which she expresses regret for the way she first reacted on social media to the criticism she received because of Evans' post.

"As I sat down in my chair that afternoon and logged onto Facebook, I was completely devastated by what I was reading regarding hate towards me and hate towards a business that I have dedicated 25 years of my life running," Crosby said. "I should have waited to respond to Mr. Evans daughter’s post and handled it in a more professional manner than I did. I just thought that his daughter would have come to me in person about the situation before posting on social media completely discrediting me and my business."

"I have suffered tremendously from the false information that was posted about me and my business," Crosby added.

Crosby says her interaction with Evans didn't happen the way he describes, claiming she did not touch Evans or "jerk" him by his shirt into her office.

"This is completely false information which can be confirmed by video footage," Crosby said. "As Mr. Evans approached the dine-in seating area near my office, I signaled him by hand to step into my office. This was not done in any aggressive manner as my intentions were to simply have a heart-to-heart conversation with Mr. Evans."

Video surveillance footage Crosby provided Oct. 17 seems to confirm her account. She can be seen stepping out of her office as Evans approaches, and waiving him inside.

Crosby shuts the door behind them, and they proceed to talk. At no point during their 2 minute, 15 second interaction does the video show Crosby touch Evans.

Crosby also denies she asked Evans to leave her store if he did not cover his face, saying she feels the "utmost sympathy" for him and other cancer victims because of loved ones in her own family who have battled cancer.

"I asked if he had anything such as an eye patch that he could use to cover his open wounds while dining in," Crosby says. "I thought that Mr. Evans and I had a really nice conversation and he smiled as he walked out of my office."

"Mr. Evans was never asked to leave the store and after the conversation we had, it saddens me that it was described this way," Crosby added.

Still, Crosby said she could not ignore feedback she'd received regarding Evans' and his appearance.

"As a business owner, you are sometimes forced to make difficult decisions," Crosby said. "This decision was not an easy one, but one that I felt that I should address due to the number of complaints I have received from other customers."

Evans says he hopes Crosby can "find it in her heart to treat people with disabilities in a different manner," after their interaction.

"We don't want to be treated like that. We are human beings," Evans said.

Evans says he will never go to the Forks again, and has yet to receive an apology.

"Mr. Evans is welcome at my store anytime and I am very sorry for what he has had to endure as a cancer patient," Crosby said in her statement to ABC News 4. "I wish Mr. Evans well and in no way meant any harm to him from our discussion."

Meanwhile, Evans says he does have a place another place in Walterboro where he feels welcomed and loved: the local Dairy Land.

"When you spend your money at somebody's place of business, you should be welcomed just like this man that owns this place here welcomed me," he said. "I'm welcome. This is my table."

Read Crosby's full statement in response to the situation below:

  • STATEMENT FROM DONNA CROSBY, FORKS PIT STOP OWNER, OCT. 17, 2018

    On Oct. 8 Mr. Kirby Evans entered The Forks Pit Stop, as he has done on numerous occasions over the last couple months. As Mr. Evans approached the dine-in seating area near my office, I signaled him by hand to step into my office. This was not done in any aggressive manner as my intentions were to simply have a heart-to-heart conversation with Mr. Evans. In a completely private conversation, I discussed his condition with him and asked if there was anything that I could do to help with his situation. After having brief conversation sympathizing with him about his condition, I asked if he had anything such as an eye patch that he could use to cover his open wounds while dining in. We then went on to discuss high school and how he thought he had attended high school with my husband. I thought that Mr. Evans and I had a really nice conversation and he smiled as he walked out of my office. Mr. Evans left my office and proceeded around the store, where he picked up what appeared to be a drink and doughnuts, waited in line for several minutes, paid and left on his bicycle.

    I cannot speak for what Mr. Evans went on to tell his daughter later that evening, but as I sat down in my chair that afternoon and logged onto Facebook, I was completely devastated by what I was reading regarding hate towards me and hate towards a business that I have dedicated 25 years of my life running. I should have waited to respond to Mr. Evans daughter’s post and handled it in a more professional manner than I did. I just thought that his daughter would have come to me in person about the situation before posting on social media completely discrediting me and my business. Brandy Evans’ Facebook post stated that Mr. Evans was grabbed by his shirt and pulled into the office, and this was also stated by Mr. Evans himself on a news broadcast conducted by Channels 4 and 5 news. This is completely false information which can be confirmed by video footage. Mr. Evans was never asked to leave the store and after the conversation we had, it saddens me that it was described this way.

    Mr. Evans is welcome at my store anytime and I am very sorry for what he has had to endure as a cancer patient. I know he has suffered and been through many painful surgeries. I have the upmost sympathy for cancer patients and what they have to go through. My father and father-in-law both suffer from skin cancer. I have lost a sister-in-law, aunt and uncle at a young age to cancer, so it really saddens me to see so many posts saying I am heartless when it comes to cancer. As a business owner, you are sometimes forced to make difficult decisions to try to keep your business on the right path to success and this decision was not an easy one, but one that I felt that I should address due to the number of complaints I have received from other customers.

    There are always two sides to every story, and I have suffered tremendously from the false information that was posted about me and my business.

    In my closing remark, I would like to say that I wish Mr. Evans well and in no way meant any harm to him from our discussion. I want to thank my friends, family, and co-workers for trying to help me through this devastating time and, most importantly, I want to thank all my customers in Colleton County who have supported me for so many years.

    Sincerely,
    Donna A. Crosby


close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off

Trending