(reprinted from Yelp.com)
Please let me begin by offering compassion and understanding for whatever underlying pain is creating your anger and hostility. Here amidst the busy Christmas weekend, our caring team is understanding that holidays are a challenging time for many, and tend to amplify all kinds of emotions, including impatience, anger, fear and grief.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to reply to your negative review of our business, Soulstice, and respond publicly as to who we are and what we stand for. When you visited over a year ago, the issue was not that you simply complained about your massage. We do our very best to provide excellent care and take responsibility when we fall short of expectations. I’m very proud of the way our team strives for growth and improvement, always receiving criticism as an opportunity for learning. Had you simply expressed disappointment or dissatisfaction with your experience, we would have been happy to help and welcomed the opportunity to improve. However the issue in your case was that you were deeply unkind, disrespectful and racist in your interaction with my staff. Having been gifted your massage by one of our best-loved customers — who has been a consistently thoughtful, generous and kind presence in our community — it is my job as our founder to protect our therapists and customers and ensure everyone is made to feel safe, respected and honored within our walls. My reaching out for follow up is not “unethical,” rather, it shows a founder who cares deeply about her staff, customers and their well-being.
Over the last sixteen months — in parallel with our national leadership and tone — we have noticed a rise in unkindness, mean-spiritedness and general disrespect among a thankfully small percentage of people. Since the minority of Americans elected the Trump administration, it’s become clear on both a national stage as well as in our own communities that some people now feel open to trumpet aloud their racist, sexist, xenophobic and divisive opinions. Until now, political correctness and a national sense of decency kept them in the shadows — today, led by a privileged, petty, morally bankrupt man lacking respect or integrity, they feel emboldened to parade their bigotry, demand entitlement and celebrate their ignorance.
Only since Trump’s election have we received a small-yet-startling number of customers announcing their Christianity alongside suggestions that I begin screening my staff according to gender preference and sexuality. We have also fielded thinly-veiled racism toward our non-white staff members, and experienced bullying, sexist behavior toward female practitioners. It’s sad yet not surprising, given our “leader” has unfortunately normalized these types of ugly behaviors.
I’m exceptionally proud of our truly diverse staff of over fifty talented massage therapists, dedicated teachers, caring managers, gentle customer service team members and progressive contributors. Together we span every generation, ethnicity, and gender identity… and come from many different countries, continents and class backgrounds. Up until now our collective reaction has been to simply rise above the small, petty and mean and focus instead on embodying their opposite qualities: Compassion, kindness, respect, empathy, understanding. Curiosity, tolerance, a spirit of openness, giving and service. Gratitude, patience, vulnerability and forgiveness. As saddened, disappointed and at times heart-broken as I personally feel at how far our country is currently falling short of these qualities, I’m constantly and daily reminded, motivated and inspired by our amazing staff to keep moving forward, progressing and working toward a more loving, kind, interdependent society. At this moment, it’s no longer enough to embody the good; it’s up to all of us to call out those who disrespect, exploit, abuse, cause harm and hurt feelings simply because of one’s sex, gender, ethnicity or station of vulnerability. We are better than that, and it’s time for all of us to evolve into our highest human potential. No matter what our race, livelihood, or background, at the end of the day what matters most is how well we treat others… were we loved, and did we love and appreciate others to the best of our abilities.
Our mission and reason for being — the collective spirit of our teams in Marin and Sonoma Counties — is to provide care, healing, warmth, authenticity and kindness as well as a platform, catalyst and safe space for growth, connection, self-awareness, empathy and mindfulness. We welcome everyone, from all walks of life and backgrounds, honor and see you — truly see you — for the unique human being you are. In return we gracefully insist that our visitors aspire to treat one another as well as our staff with the same softness, kindness and respect we offer to all.
Kayse Gehret — Founder at Soulstice Spa