Nurse Requests Refund From Bridal Shop She Visited While She Had Ebola

The wedding planning of Amber Vinson, the Dallas nurse who survived Ebola, continues to garner attention, none of it good and now, perhaps, she’s looking even worse.

Vinson contracted Ebola while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the the first person to die of Ebola in the United States; during the time between her exposure and actual diagnosis, Vinson was cleared by the CDC to take a round-trip flight to Cleveland to plan her upcoming nuptials. (And while Vinson’s superiors are ultimately responsible for approving her travel, there remains the question of Vinson’s personal judgment in making the trip — but, as we know, wedding planning is not traditionally known as a flexible process full of reason or common sense. The show must go on.)

Vinson was not contagious on her flight to Cleveland but began to show signs of illness during her time in Ohio, during which she visited Coming Attractions Bridal salon with her bridesmaids. Once Vinson’s diagnosis was confirmed upon her return to Dallas, the bridal salon was forced to close its doors for three weeks for decontamination. The store’s owner, Anna Younker, estimates the quarantine cost her thousands of dollars. A small price to pay in the context of public health, sure, but definitely a pain in the ass for Younker’s bottom line.

So you can imagine Younker’s surprise when she received a letter from Vinson’s attorney asking for a refund. Vinson’s bridesmaids paid deposits on four dresses totaling $479.89; now Vinson wants that money back so she and her ladies can hit the reset button on their dress shopping. The attorney wrote,

“Amber’s Ebola infection brought significant attention to Coming Attractions, not all of it positive […] In order to minimize additional public scrutiny, Amber has decided that it would be best if she used another bridal shop for her bridesmaids’ dresses, and kept it strictly confidential.”

First, the generous take: The sentiment behind this move is slightly relatable. Vinson wants her wedding to be a happy occasion and some unpleasant memories may come flooding back at the mere sight of those bridesmaids’ dresses. And any potential for unhappy thoughts on the big day must be swiftly eliminated; the bride’s uninhibited joy shall never, ever be put at risk. It’s like wedding law, which is basically martial law (but with more flowers).

Except, well, these messy memories are on Vinson. No, it’s not her fault she contracted Ebola — she was a brave nurse working to help a gravely ill man — but it sure as hell isn’t the salon’s fault that Vinson and her crew purchased dresses there. Asking for a refund is ridiculous. If Vinson wants to “minimize scrutiny,” the last thing she should be doing is sending letters from a lawyer. Instead, she should take the financial hit, pay back her bridesmaids for the false dress alarm, and start over again.

Cancel the order and move on, lady. You just survived Ebola; quit while you’re ahead.

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