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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
Walmart has issued an apology after a breast cancer survivor said she felt compelled to show her mastectomy scar to be able to return a $13 book.
The woman, who KCTV5 is not identifying, said she received the book as a Christmas gift for her son.
"We didn't have a receipt. It was a gift," she said.
The woman, who underwent chemotherapy, went to a Northland Walmart off Barry Road to exchange the item. But she never imagined the scrutiny she would face in trying to make a simple exchange.
She was asked to produce a photo identification, which she readily did so, saying she knows they have to keep records to prevent fraud. But several employees didn't believe it was her because her long, blonde hair is now short and brown. Her facial features are the same, but chemotherapy ravaged her hair.
"Instead of looking at facial features, she said, 'Oh, your hair is not blonde anymore.' I had on a hat. I said, 'I lost it. It's growing back,'" the woman recalled. "She kind of frowned at me. I said, 'Honestly, it's personal but I have cancer. That's why my hair looks different.' And she kind of rolled her eyes at me and kind of snapped her fingers for her manager to come over."
She said three employees, including a manager, scrutinized her identification for what felt like an uncomfortably long period of time.
She said she offered to show them her scars.
"They were rude to me. So I finally pulled down the top of my shirt and showed them I still have the scar," she recalled. "They were kind of shocked. I said, 'I have breast cancer. I'm not going to show you another scar.'"
Walmart officials said they have reached out to store management to discuss ways to handle such cases differently.
"We truly apologize to the customer for her experience," the company said in a statement.
The woman did receive a gift card for the returned book and she hopes others will be more compassionate.
"I don't go around telling everyone and frankly it wasn't any of their business," she said. "But I just wanted to get the situation over with."
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