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HOT SPRINGS, AR (CBS Local) – An Arkansas mother is accusing a local IHOP franchise of discriminating against her three-year-old son who was born without arms.
Alexis Bancroft says the pancake restaurant in Hot Springs refused to serve the toddler because he eats with his feet. IHOP’s general manager reportedly approached the Bancroft family and informed them that three-year-old William would not be allowed to sit at the table and touch the syrup containers with his feet.
“When we got there, I carried him in, took him to the bathroom and washed his feet so he could eat,” Mrs. Bancroft said, via KAUZ. “I asked her, ‘Do you ask all of your customers if they washed their hands before they touch them [syrup containers]?'”
Bancroft added that her son learned how to feed himself using this technique in physical therapy. It’s the first time the mother claims a restaurant has taken issue with the way Williams eats.
The Hot Springs general manager reportedly apologized, however the Bancrofts left without paying for their drinks and posted the exchange on Facebook. The post has been removed by the family since the May 26 incident.
IHOP added that the manager has been placed on leave and the Arkansas staff will be retrained in dealing with disabled customers. “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,” the restaurant chain wrote in a statement.