PARENTS
23/06/2015 14:37 BST | Updated 23/06/2015 14:59 BST

Mum Told Her Son's Wheelchair Isn't Allowed Into Harrods Because It 'Looks Like A Toy'

A mum will be taking Harrods staff through the basics of "what a mobility aid can look like" after she was told her son had to leave his wheelchair at the shop's entrance because it "looked like a toy".

Shelly Wall's son Noah has spina bifida and is paralysed from the chest down. He currently uses a low slung ZipZac wheelchair, because at three years old he is too small to manoeuver a larger chair.

Wall was told by a Harrods security guard that Noah's blue wheelchair would have to be left in the luggage department if they wanted to look around the Knightsbridge store on 22 June.

"We were really upset by the guard's comments," the mother-of-three from Cumbria, told HuffPost UK Parents.

"He said it couldn't be a wheelchair because it didn't have handles

"I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I mean what does a wheelchair look like - a chair with wheels and that's what it is."

Just left @Harrods #London in disgust Noah's wheelchair isn't allowed in as it doesn't look like a wheelchair ??????...

Posted by Shellybobbins on Monday, 22 June 2015

Wall, 43, is also mum to Steph, 23, and Ally, 18.

She had decided to visit Harrods while on a day trip to London to see Noah sing in a performance of Music Is Magic at the London Palladium and was accompanied by Noah and Steph, as well as the children's aunt, uncle and grandmother.

"Steph was so upset and angry she picked Noah up and showed the guard his legs to prove that he was paralysed, but the guard wouldn't back down," Wall says.

"So Noah's auntie said, 'I think we should just leave' and she burst into tears as we walked out the door."

Later that day Wall took to Facebook to share details of the incident. She posted the photo above along with the message:

"Just left @Harrods ‪#‎London‬ in disgust Noah's wheelchair isn't allowed in as it doesn't look like a wheelchair," she wrote.

"Noah's sister picked Noah up out of his pram and showed the security man that his legs didn't work!

"So upset!"

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Wall's post was shared more than 6,000 times in less than 24 hours.

"That is disgusting. What a horrible thing to say to someone: that their chair does not look like a chair. So rude," wrote one commenter.

"ZipZacs are amazing. Hopefully this will educate some people about them," added another.

Wall says she has been blown away by the kindness of the majority of internet commenters:

"The support has been amazing," she adds. "We are very grateful. It does restore your faith in people."

A Harrods spokesperson issued the following statement to HuffPost UK Parents:

“Following yesterday’s incident, Harrods has now spoken to Michelle Wall to offer our sincere apologies and ask how we can make amends.

"We have welcomed Michelle’s suggestion that she comes to the store to train key staff in the different types of wheelchairs available and are in the process of arranging it.

"As part of the visit, Harrods will treat Michelle, Noah, and the rest of their family to a lunch in the Disney Café and a special tour of our toy department.

"Noah is also first on the list for a VIP trip to see Father Christmas in the grotto later in the year.

"Harrods wishes to emphasise that at no point were any of Michelle’s family banned from or denied entry into Harrods and our policy is to welcome all wheelchair users to the store. We look forward to seeing the Wall family at Harrods very soon.”

Wall says she is pleased to have been given the opportunity to educate people about disability.

"I had quite a lengthy chat with Harrods," she said.

"We don't want anything from them, just the opportunity to educate their staff and break down another barrier for people who are disabled."

You can find Shelly Wall blogging at: shellybobbins.blogspot.co.uk.

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