A mother from Arkansas has accused a restaurant of discriminating against her three-year-old son who was born without arms.
William Bancroft has adapted to life without arms, using his feet to pick up food, drink and share things with others.
William was sitting on the table at a local IHOP pancake restaurant, which the family had visited for breakfast, when the general manager told them the boy could not sit on the table due to “health department issues”. The manager also didn’t want him touching things with his feet, claiming it would be a sanitary issue.
This is despite William’s mother, Alexis Bancroft, telling the manager that she had taken William to the bathroom to wash his feet, the manager claimed not to have seen that.
I asked her what’s the difference between hands and feet?
I asked, ‘Do you ask all your customers if they’ve washed their hands before they touch the syrup dispensers fist?’
Everybody was staring at us and everything. They were going to give us our food, but we decided to leave because of the way he was treated. He was discriminated against for not having arms.
Other customers at the restaurant who witnessed the incident were also upset by the way William was treated, with one family choosing to leave because of it.
The manager in question apologised again to the family by sending a message on Facebook. Employees also reached out to the mother, saying they were “completely shocked” and "deeply ashamed" of the her actions.
IHOP has released a statement, in which it promised to “retrain” its staff “to ensure IHOP’s level of service, particularly regarding guests with disabilities, is provided to all”.
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.