[Update 5/20/2018 2:05pm PT: An earlier version of this story said the child “was refused service.” An IHOP spokesperson says, "the guests were not refused service. The mother chose to leave the restaurant on her own accord."]
A 3-year-old armless kid who learned how to eat with his feet was forbidden to feed himself at an Arkansas IHOP by a disapproving IHOP manager.
His mom said the general manager told her he could not sit on the table and touch the syrup containers because it was a health department issue.
"When we got there, I carried him in, took him to the bathroom and washed his feet so he could eat," Bancroft said. "I asked her, 'Do you ask all of your customers if they washed their hands before they touch them [syrup containers]?'"
Bancroft said the manager later apologized, but the damage was already done.
"She was the one who discriminated against my son for having a physical disability," she said.
The family got up and left without paying for their drinks.
Bancroft then took to Facebook to explain the situation. Her post has since gone viral.
Several servers messaged her that they were "deeply ashamed" of what happened and "completely shocked" that their manager did that.
The manager even messaged her, saying in part, "I really think this was all a misunderstanding. I would never do that to your son intentionally or otherwise. That's not what I was trying to do."
A spokesman from the corporate offices of IHOP said the manager is on leave and that the staff will be given sensitivity training.
IHOP President Darren Rebelez said in a statement:
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. Additionally, the franchise will also retrain his team members to ensure IHOP’s level of service, particularly regarding guests with disabilities, is provided to all. For 60 years, IHOP and our franchisees have strived to create a warm and hospitable dining experience for all guests, and this incident is not reflective of that ongoing commitment.