A Missouri family says they were kicked out of Wisconsin restaurant after employees failed to accommodate their special needs child.
James Mulwa got into a dispute with a Marley’s Club restaurant manager after the employee told the family they could not eat outside food in the restaurant, WISC-TV reported.
According to his parents, 10-year-old Silas was born with severe autism. As a result, he eats only McDonald’s French fries and gets most of his nutrients through a stomach tube.
The Missouri family was on vacation in Wisconsin Dells and brought the bag of McDonald’s fries with them into Marley’s Club for the boy to eat. They were asked to leave the fries outside. The family said they complied, but were still asked to leave the restaurant.
Owners Marci and Jeff said there’s a little more to the story.
"She said she had a special needs child, and I said, 'It's still our policy, is there anything we can do to accommodate you,'" Marci told WISC-TV. "He wanted French fries, we have French fries.
"It's always been our policy that you can't allow outside food in here."
Mulwa recorded a video of his encounter with the manager and the clip went viral.
The owners said the family was kicked out because Silas’s father caused a disturbance inside the restaurant, not because of the McDonald’s food.
"I felt threatened for the business, and for our employees, and therefore asked him to leave," Marci said.
"That's not who we are," Jeff added. "We had people who come in here all the time with disabilities and we welcome them. We'll do anything to accommodate them."
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, restaurants are required to make reasonable accommodations for customers with disabilities. Marci and Jeff said they tried to accommodate the family by offering their own French fries.
"I felt like I accommodated her," Marci said. "She walked to her car to put the bag away. I felt like I did what I was supposed to."
Silas’s mother, Jennifer Beavers, sought another form of accommodation.
"All I was asking is that they allow him to sit at the table and eat the only food that he will eat, and we were denied that," she said.
Mulwa believes more autism education is needed for restaurants and other establishments to better accommodate those with special needs.
"There's ignorance," he said. "People aren't aware what people with disabilities are going through."
Photo Credit: Screenshot from YouTube