Wally Hesdon, 83, was denied access to the disabled toilet in McDonald’s on Scotland Street, Liverpool, after the manager demanded to see “proof” that he was disabled, claiming that Wally “didn’t look disabled.”
Speaking exclusively to the Metro, Tony, his son, explained that the pair were having a cup of coffee at the fast food restaurant on Saturday, when the manager informed Wally that he had to provide “proof” in order to receive the key to the disabled toilet on the premises, leaving Wally extremely embarrassed.
“He insisted on proof of disability as the queue grew and people kept listening,” Tony told the Metro.
Wally, who has arthritis in both of his ankles, showed the manager his disabled bus pass, which Tony said was the only way they could prove his father was disabled – unless they had an x-ray machine in the back.
“The McDonald’s manager said ‘no, that is not proof you’re disabled’ and said he wanted to see a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP),” Tony said. “The original letter from the government, which he used to get the bus pass.”
The manager then informed Wally that he was free to use the toilets on the upper floor of the restaurant, but refused to turn on the store’s lift for Wally to access the upper floor, claiming that it was “only for people in a wheelchair,” and he would “have to use the stairs.”
“Eventually, my dad felt so embarrassed and ashamed,” Tony said. “He didn’t want to argue and told me ‘come on, let’s go, I don’t want to make any trouble.'”
While Tony respected McDonald’s for keeping their disabled toilet locked to prevent misuse, added that staff should be more informed on hidden disabilities. Tony also has arthritis and bone disease, and uses crutches.
He said: “The sad thing is that if I was there, they would’ve given us the key, you can see that I have a disability because of my crutches.”
In a statement to the Metro, McDonald’d apologised: “We would like to apologise for any embarrassment or upset caused and encourage the customer to get in touch with our customer services team.”
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