The owner and employees of a restaurant in Lethbridge are used to seeing reviews online, but they never expected those comments to target someone over their appearance.

Erica Pyska, the owner of Plum, and Amanda Bauer, one of her top employees were shocked when they read a comment left on Trip Advisor, a popular review website.

“The last sentence about my weight and my appearance, it’s just hard not to take that to heart,” Bauer said.

The reviewer had written:

The overweight waitress covered in tattoos did not seem to reflect the ambience of the décor or the atmosphere.

Pyska spoke with Bauer after learning of the review.

“She said, ‘do people think that I’m so awful that they need to write about it on Trip Advisor? Do people think this about me when I go to a table?’ and that was the first thing to come out of her mouth.”

As the owner, she responded to the post and thanked the user for the comments about the restaurant’s food and service but said that comments about the appearance of any of the staff would not be tolerated, especially when they are directed at someone who had just gone through thyroid cancer treatment.

“You don’t expect someone to be so malicious and rude about me as a person when all you know is that hour and a half that I spent with you,” Bauer said.

“This is not about behaviour or information about how we can better our services or our food, this is about inappropriate things to post online or post anywhere,” Pyska said.

She says she had to ask Trip Advisor several times to remove the comment before it finally did, but Pyska and Bauer say they aren’t finished.

They want to use the experience to communicate the message that body shaming is unacceptable.

“I don’t want to be behind a computer and call him names,” Bauer said. “I’d rather be out in the public and say that this kind of behaviour isn’t okay. I won’t put up with it. Other people shouldn’t put up with it, so I just hope that with Erica and I coming out and talking that other people will feel safe to do the same.”

The pair says they’ve gotten a lot of support over social media during the past few days.

(With files from CTV Lethbridge’s Eli Bullen)