An IHOP (International House of Pancakes) manager has apologized, and her staff will be retrained after she kicked out a family because their son, who was born without arms, ate with his feet, The Miami Herald is reporting.
Alexis Bancroft says that she and her family went to the Hot Springs, Arkansas location for some breakfast last Saturday morning, but found their trip spoiled by the manager. That’s because the family’s son, three-year-old William, who was born without arms, began eating with his feet.
The manager, whose name has not been released, took exception to that, according to Alexis’ version of events. Specifically, the manager didn’t want William touching the syrup containers – which are left on the table for other diners to use after each party leaves – with his feet. Alexis says that she insisted that William’s feet had been washed in the bathroom, which apparently wasn’t good enough for the manager.
“I asked her, ‘do you ask all of your customers if they washed their hands before they touch them?'”
According to a Facebook post which has since been deleted, other patrons soon started coming to Alexis’ side, including a table full of baseball players, and a table where a veteran and his family were eating.
Eventually, says Alexis, the manager apologized, but it was too late: she and her family left in disgust, leaving food on the table and not paying their bill. Alexis claims that other disgusted patrons did the same.
And the manager’s apology, she says, doesn’t change the fact that her son, already self-conscious about the way he eats, was humiliated that day.
“Apologizing, saying it wasn’t intentional, but my son can’t get that back. The very next day, he didn’t want to sit on the table to eat. He wanted to sit in a chair, which he can’t really do.”
At this point, it bears noting that Alexis’ version of events is the only source of information about this story, so things might not have happened the way she wrote in her Facebook post. However, IHOP seems to have admitted that something akin to what Alexis described did happen that day, as the company has apologized and stated that the staff at that particular restaurant will be retrained, according to KAUZ-TV (Wichita Falls).
“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.”