Whole Foods Apologizes After Guard Says Autistic Customer Belongs On A Leash


When a Milwaukee woman attempted to apologize and pay for some food that her autistic brother had eaten without paying for, she might have expected to be given a hard time. But we’re pretty sure she wasn’t expecting to be told her brother belongs on a leash.

According to WITI-TV, the incident occurred last week after the 26-year-old autistic man was spotted eating food from the Whole Foods hot bar. The man was unable to explain his actions to security staffers, but the sister tried to intervene and resolve the matter.

“I told them that he had autism, apologized that he had taken the food, and immediately offered to pay for it,” she tells WITI. “They told me he needed to get out of the store and not come back unless he was on a leash.”

Whole Foods takes a slightly different angle on the story, saying the man had been caught eating from the hot bar on previous occasions. It also claims that the guard’s remark was more along the lines of “you don’t have to put him on a leash, but you have to watch him.”

Regardless, the guard — employed by a third-party security firm — has since resigned.

Here’s Whole Foods’ statement to WITI:

“We apologize and regret that one of our contracted security guards made insensitive comments to a Whole Foods Market shopper who was disabled. We are conducting special training this week for all team members at Whole Foods Market Milwaukee, even though none of our team members were involved.”

Thanks to J for the tip!