When Ethan Wade, who has dwarfism, went into a McDonald’s in South Carolina recently to order some food, the cashier took one look at him and ran off, waving her hands in the air and shouting “Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!” She kept shouting from the back, and another employee came up to tell Ethan that she had a phobia of little people. Said Wade:
An employee in the franchise office told Wade about what the woman had said. Wade said, “The employee had stated to her, ‘Imagine if you saw a snake or a spider, how would you respond?’ And that employee said she understood that. And I said, ‘That’s unbelievable. I am a human being.'”
“How could you compare the fear of a snake and spider to a human being? That makes no sense to me,” Wade said. “I’ve seen kids kind of react like that. Understandable. But grown adults to act like that? That’s just not acceptable.”
The restaurant deferred comments on the matter to the franchise office.
The person who answered the phone at the franchise office when WYFF News 4 called said the only people who could discuss this case are the franchise’s attorneys, insurance company and the owner, but they refused to give out any of their names.
If you have a phobia of people, shouldn’t you find work that doesn’t involve the risk of seeing them? Or try exposure therapy—she should date progressively shorter men until the sight of a dwarf causes only mild discomfort.
Wade says the restaurant hasn’t contacted him to apologize so far. “I haven’t even gotten anything from that yet,” he said. “You know, I was thinking a coupon or something.” You got something better than a coupon, Wade! The company is taking this seriously:
After WYFF spoke to a media spokeswoman at the corporate level, the franchise owner, Cynthia Samour, released a statement saying, “We take these matters seriously and do our very best to serve our customers with the utmost care and respect.”
The franchise owner has said that “all her employees will receive additional training to ensure they serve all customers with respect.”
“Taking it seriously” is a phrase companies use over and over again in public statements whenever they have bad PR. Our series of posts on occurrences of the phrase is our attempt to question how seriously companies are really taking these matters if every time they trot out this phrase by rote.
“Little Person Says Clerk Screamed, Ran From Him” [WYFF4 News](Thanks to Christy!
(Photo: Brendan Adkins)