As a society, we’re beginning to cotton on to the fact that restaurants don’t really do the whole customer service thing right anymore. Somewhere along the way in trying to make things affordable and being a recognisable brand, a lot of them have picked up what we’ll politely call “bad habits”.
One mom has called for a boycott of IHOP after her three-year-old son was refused service because he eats with his feet. Outraged Alexis Bancroft said the general manager at IHOP restaurant in Hot Springs, Arizona, told her that her son William was not allowed to sit on a table or touch syrup containers because it was “unhygienic”.
Bancroft said that she took her son to the bathroom and washed his feet as soon as they arrived at the restaurant. The manager, however, was not happy with this.
“For the first time in three years my little precious boy was discriminated for not having arms and having to eat with his feet!”
Bancroft told local news: “When we got there, I carried him in, took him to the bathroom and washed his feet so he could eat. I asked her, ‘Do you ask all of your customers if they washed their hands before they touch them (syrup containers)?'”
The mom had earlier shared the experience on Facebook, along with a call to boycott IHOP.
“As a protecting mother snapped back quick and asked what the difference was from hands to feet. She told me that she worked at first step and wasn’t trying to offend us, what does first step even have to do with the situation, just cause you work there doesn’t mean you understand children with disabilities or care for them. She proceeded to ask me if he walked. Yes my son walks you idiot! [sic]”
IHOP fast food restaurant at night, brightly illuminated, with sign indicating the store’s 24 hour schedule, in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dublin, California, March 5, 2018. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images) Credit: Getty Images
“There was lots of words passed back and forth about the situation! Then the whole staff proceeded to talk about how my kids straw wrappers where on the floor and talk about my son. [sic]”
Bancroft continues: “He is a three year old innocent child that does things different. Big shout out to the veteran that was there with two women that left when we did and stood up for my son, there food had just got to there table and they left. [sic]”
After the incident, Bancroft and her family left without eating, and did not pay for their drinks. Local also reported that the manager is now on leave, and said IHOP has vowed to retrain staff and raise disability awareness.
A spokesman said: “IHOP and our franchisees do not tolerate actions that are or allude to discrimination of any type. The franchisee at this location has been in touch with the guest to express his sincerest apologies and will continue to be in communication with her to resolve the issue.”
It’s becoming more and more apparent the service/food industry needs to work on more than just the food it serves.