BENSONHURST, Brooklyn (PIX11) – An Ohio woman is now getting the smile of a lifetime after she lost her teeth in a domestic violence incident. This ultimately forced Rose Counts to leave her job last month because of a controversial “smile policy.”
On Tuesday, Counts sat in a patient room in Dr. Daniel Rubinshtein’s office in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, as she wiped away tears because she knew her life was about to change.
More than 20 years after her ex-husband knocked out her teeth, she says she’s been self-conscious of her smile, but Dr. Rubinshtein is committed to giving her the makeover of a lifetime because dentists can often be the first people to identify domestic violence victims.
The doctor caught wind of her story on social media after Counts posted on Facebook that she left her gas station job at Sheetz because of their “smile policy.”
“They said that I didn’t have a beautiful smile and that to work there you had to have a beautiful smile,” Counts said holding back tears.
The company’s policy, obtained by Business Insider, stated that applicants with “obvious missing, broken, or badly discolored teeth (unrelated to a disability) are not qualified for employment with Sheetz.”
With more than 400,000 followers on Instagram, Dr. Rubinshtein’s clientele consists of professional athletes and entertainers. Running a successful practice gives him an opportunity to give back, so he booked a flight for Counts and her fiancé to visit him in his office. This is the first time the couple has been in New York.
The doctor and his team conducted a full evaluation and will be expediting the process. He is also taking care of all costs.
“We have to see what we could do as a team to improve her smile and her health, so we did all the necessary preliminary work and we’re ready to rock and roll and give her a smile of her dreams,” Dr. Rubinshtein said. “I want her to look in the mirror and forget about what happened and move on forward.”
Sheetz also PIX11 News’s sister station WTAJ in a statement in part:
“As a family-owned and operated company, nothing is more important than creating an environment that is inclusive and supportive of all of our employees. recently through employee feedback, we have learned that the smile policy is not aligned with these values from their perspective. we agree. effective immediately, this policy is discontinued.”
Counts claimed Sheetz offered her a job back, but she has declined and plans to work elsewhere.
“I’m excited to be able to have a conversation with someone and not be like, ‘Are they looking at my mouth? I want to hide,’” Counts said.
In a few weeks, Dr. Rubinshtein will fly Counts back to New York City to complete her smile journey and give her a new outlook on life.
If you or anyone you know is a victim of Domestic or Gender-Based Violence, you can call the NYC 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-621-HOPE, dial 311 or visit the Family Justice Center in your borough. Find more domestic violence resources online.