‘I never felt so scared in my life’: Edmonton man receives valentine with homophobic slur
An Edmonton man had a heartbreaking Valentine’s Day after he received a gift with a homophobic slur while at work.
“I was scared. I never felt so scared in my life,” said 20-year-old Degas Sikorski.
Sikorski is putting himself through university by working at the north Edmonton Party City. However, around Christmas his hours were suddenly cut.
This weekend, Sikorski said he had his first shift since New Year’s Eve.
As a treat, his supervisor made valentines for staff members. However, by the time Sikorski received his, it had been vandalized with a hateful anti-gay message.
“At that point my jaw hit the floor and I didn't know what to do.”
His mom turned to Facebook, looking for advice on how to handle the situation.
“It hurts. It hurts. It doesn't matter how old your children are, you're protective,” said Shelley Sikorski to CTV Edmonton.
As of Sunday afternoon, the Facebook post had been shared more than 8,000 times. On Twitter, @partycity was trending in Canada.
“My first reaction was 'it's 2016'. Homophobia, we would hope, was not as prevalent in our society as it apparently still is,” said Mickey Wilson with the Pride Centre of Edmonton.
Mayor Don Iveson joined in the conversation by Tweeting, "discrimination based on sexual orientation is unacceptable, and is offside with our widespread spirit of #yegpride."
In a statement, Party City said it “does not condone this behavior and is committed to creating a fair and inclusive working environment.”
“We are currently looking into this matter and will provide more information as it becomes available."
Degas Sikorski isn’t blaming Party City but hopes the person responsible is held accountable.
“If it was anyone younger, if it was even 17-year-old me, if it was any other person who doesn't have strong skin like I do, this could have ended in a suicide,” said Sikorski.
With files from CTV's Breanna Karstens-Smith