A McDonald's Taiwan executive apologized on Wednesday after a customer with Down syndrome was told to leave one of the fast food chain's restaurants.
Susan Lu, operation vice president for McDonald's Taiwan, offered the apology to the patron, surnamed Wang, during a press conference. Lu’s apology comes on the heels of disability rights activists protesting outside McDonald's Taipei headquarters.
During the incident in question, Wang went to McDonald's to buy an ice cream and the manager somehow got the impression she was up to no good. The manager called the police and told them that a homeless person was shouting in the restaurant.
"Our staff's treatment of Wang was really inappropriate and we apologize to her for causing her discomfort when she was intending to dine at our store," Lu said. “I think it’s very improper that the restaurant contacted the police to handle the matter in this isolated case. I apologize that this caused an unpleasant dining experience for Ms. Wang.”
Lu thanked Wang for accepting the apology and said the reason it had taken so long for the restaurant to admit its mistake was because the company had been conducting an internal investigation.
"We are sorry about our failure to meet the expectations of the public," Lu said.
Lin Mei-chih, secretary-general of the Republic of China Down Syndrome Foundation, said that nearly 500,000 people had called for McDonald's to apologize, Focus Taiwan reported. The organization’s president, Lin Cheng-hsia, said the protests will end even though there is still some uncertainty about what exactly happened with Wang.
“We chose to let the matter drop to reduce the social disharmony, even though the truth remains unknown as McDonald’s has not released the surveillance camera video,” Cheng-hsia said.