Image: Christin Hume and Usman Yousaf | Unsplash
This did not sit well with many online.

According to a now-viral Tweet from user Lindsay Fortagy, or @rarediseasemom, an ice cream shop in Pigeon Forge, Tennesee denied her and her son service as they chose to wear masks. She writes that “A grown adult man who owns an ice cream shop in Tennessee made my 10-year-old autistic son cry because he wouldn’t sell us ice cream because we wouldn’t take our masks off.” She adds that the two suffer from a rare disease and are both immunocompromised, which explains why they opted for masks. But, even without having a preexisting condition, many still decide to wear masks to continue to decrease the possibility of being infected with COVID-19.

The ice cream shop, also known as Kountry Kreamery, apparently has a history of refusing service to those wearing masks, according to some on Twitter. One user pointed this out in August of 2021, writing that “They claim they only ask customers to remove when ordering. But LOOK at their previous statement about masks. They’re clearly anti-mask and one is buying it.” Another person noted that “It looks like he has been doing this for quite a while according to Yelp and claims science has proven masks don’t work.”

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Although some choose to not wear masks, especially if they have been vaccinated, many choose to wear them to protect themselves or the people around them. While vaccinations help prevent the virus and help people in recovery should they experience a breakthrough case, experts recommend people to continue to wear masks to help prevent the infection. On Twitter, many also alleged that the owner did not let a service animal in, which has not been proven, but many thought that this behavior was an example of discrimination.

Since the ice cream shop is in Tennesee, and in Pigeon Forge where Dolly Parton often visits and even has an amusement park dedicated to her, many people began to tag her and her sister Stella Parton to raise awareness. Although no word from Dolly, Stella wrote that “Maybe he should dip ice cream and clean up for a counter worker with better customer service skills.” Although some worried the owner was hearing impaired, which is why he requests the removal of masks while ordering, Stella says that “his man is not hearing impaired any more than I am at my age, stop overreacting. He owns the darn place. I can’t hear sometimes when people talk too low. He is just an AHole from all reports. I have three siblings who are hearing impaired. But they aren’t mean to children.”