July 23, 2014
Last year Holly Hanjra was enjoying a day of go-kart racing in Melrose Park when something terrible happened: Her hair, which hadn’t been cut since birth, got sucked into the go-kart’s motor.
And then, according to Hanjra and her attorney, something worse happened — the staff at Melrose Park Indoor Grand Prix ignored Hanjra’s pleas to call 911 and instead rushed over and cut the woman’s hair.
Now, Hanjra is suing the go-kart facility — billed as the “fastest and largest indoor carting facility anywhere” — claiming the go-kart staff forever “tarnished” her hair, a key symbol of her Sikh faith.
“Melrose caused Holly severe emotional distress because in cutting her hair, they destroyed one of her symbols of to devotion to her religious faith,” according to the suit, filed this week in the Circuit Court of Cook County.
The suit seeks more than $50,000 in damages as well as legal fees.
As a “devout member of the Sikh faith, Holly follows the five articles of the Sikh faith,” the suit states. “One of the five articles of the Sikh faith is uncut hair, in that Holly has not cut her hair since birth.”
On Jan. 6, 2012, Hanjra went go-karting for the first time. She was with other Sikh friends, most of whom had never been go-karting before, according to the suit.
Although the facility made them watch a safety video, it made no mention of possible risks associated with having long hair, Hanjra argues.
A 14-minute safety video posted online does tell clients to use the provided “head sock” and “put it over your hair.”
Hanjra’s head was “violently pulled back” when her hair was sucked into the engine, the suit states, and she spent time in the hospital.
Hanjra could not be reached for comment. Her attorney did not return multiple calls seeking a comment.