Flood Warning issued July 24 at 9:43PM EDT expiring July 25 at 10:42AM EDT in effect for: Pasco
Danica Smith remembers the way her daughter's face lit up at the Belle of the Ball Project, a charity that gives prom dresses to girls in need.
"She tried on the dress and fell in love with it," she said.
ABC Action News viewers may remember Smith's daughter, Diynesha. The 17-year-old was a Belle of the Ball project recipient and winner of the dress our very own Sarina Fazan wore to the Tampa Theatre's red carpet Academy Awards celebration.
"When I tried on the dress, everybody was like 'Whoa that dress is amazing on you.' Then I looked on Facebook and saw everybody commenting on the picture from ABC Action News and I was like 'Wow this is cool,'" Diynesha Blalock said.
The Lakeside Christian School student was all set to wear the gown to her junior prom May 16. She had the accessories. She had the matching makeup. She thought she had the perfect dress...until Thursday night.
"There were stains all over the dress that were not there before," said Smith.
Smith said she took the gown to Sun Country Cleaners to get it cleaned before the big day, using a free coupon she received from the Belle of the Ball Project. But when they got home, they noticed watermarks and stains all over the bottom of the dress.
"Both of us were just appalled by it," said Smith.
When she brought it to the dry cleaner's attention, Smith said they apologized, but then questioned refunding her because she didn't actually pay for the dress herself.
"She just kept saying well I feel like if anybody got refunded it should be the original owner," said Smith. "It's my daughter. It's her prom. It's hurtful."
Because Smith couldn't afford the $468 price tag for a new gown, Smith reached out to ABC Action News for help.
"We just want that dream to come true for her," she said referring to her daughter.
After our interview with Smith, ABC Action News spoke with Susan McCarthy, the owner of Sun Country Cleaners. McCarthy said she plans to personally see to it that this situation is resolved quickly at no cost to Smith. McCarthy said she is confident they'll be able to repair the dress, but if not, the company plans to make good on their mistake. They also plan to hold a training session for their employees because of this incident.
The executive director of the Belle of the Ball project, Susan Schwartz, said they "will not let her (Diynesha) go to the prom without a dress."