Black family asked to show ID for using pool in their B.C. townhouse complex
A Surrey family is heartbroken after being asked to prove they could use the pool in their own Surrey townhouse complex — a request they feel was racially motivated.
Guerda Henry said she and her family — including her husband, two daughters, her 12-year-old niece and the girl’s aunt — had just arrived at the pool on Thursday when the complex caretaker approached them, and asked them to prove they lived in the strata.
The family bought their home at the complex two years ago, largely because of the pool and other amenities.
Henry said the caretaker was sent over by another resident, and that despite other families using the pool, hers was the only one questioned.
“She said, ‘Um, there are some concerns that you guys shouldn’t be here,'” Henry told Global News. “I said, ‘excuse me?'”
Henry says she showed the caretaker the key fob that allowed her to access the pool area, but the caretaker still asked for identification, citing concerns that people had jumped the fence to use the facilities.
“I was like, ‘No I don’t have ID. Do you go swimming with ID in your back pocket?'” Henry said she asked the caretaker.
The caretaker eventually used the fob to confirm the family indeed lived in the strata, and reportedly showed that information to the resident who made the complaint.
But the incident didn’t stop there.
While Henry was attending to her daughters, she said she got a call from her niece, 12-year-old Anna Elva, saying the resident was now confronting her.
“He was towering over me, basically, and he wouldn’t leave,” Elva said, adding the resident appeared to be trying to apologize but was also looking for more information.
“I didn’t feel scared, but I felt threatened,” she said.
“I’ve seen these types of things, but I never thought that person would have the guts to do that in front of so many kids,” she added.
WATCH BELOW: Video taken by her niece shows Guerda Henry and her husband confronting the resident who alerted clubhouse staff to her family’s presence at the Strata pool.
In a video taken by Elva, Henry and her husband are shown confronting the resident, trying to explain to him how the incident made them feel.
“Only us, can you imagine?” Henry says to the resident. “Only us were asked to show ID. Can you imagine? That’s embarrassing.”
Henry said the incident was deeply upsetting, especially because it happened in front of her daughters.
“I cried all [Thursday] afternoon and I woke up [the next morning] crying,” Henry said. “It hurts that my kids had to witness it, and I bought this [home] because of them,” she said.
“I don’t want to have to bring them here wondering how people are looking at them.”
Henry said this is the second time she’s been confronted in the complex by people suspicious of why she was there, and wanted to speak out this time because “something has to change.”
“I’m doing this … because I don’t want anyone else to have to go through that,” she said.
In a statement to Global News, the strata council said the resident who made the complaint is a member of the council, as well as a member of the clubhouse committee. It also said it is investigating the incident.
“The enquiry of this should not have occurred in this manner,” the council said. “Steps are currently being taken to remove that committee member from the clubhouse committee based on their actions in overstepping their boundary.”