Autistic man’s family ‘upset’ over meal row
PUBLISHED: 17:53 03 December 2014 | UPDATED: 17:53 03 December 2014
The family of an autistic man who was refused a meal in a restaurant because it was on the children’s menu has hit out at their “appalling treatment”.
Yvonne Cressall, whose 22-year-old son Alexander has autism and difficulty swallowing, plus other disabilities, said the incident at the Harvester in Beehive Lane, Redbridge, on Friday was “very upsetting”.
Speaking to the Recorder, Mrs Cressall said: “We were upset with the appalling treatment. It’s obvious that Alexander has disabilities.
“He was clearly upset, he was told he was going to have lunch and could not understand why he had to leave without having a meal.”
Alexander, his mother and his two support workers were travelling back from a hospital appointment in London when they stopped off for lunch at the “family friendly” chain restaurant.
But Mrs Cressall, who lives in Newbury Park, said they could not believe it when waiting staff refused to allow Alexander to have a meal from the children’s menu.
“The Harvester should recognise there are times when staff should be able to use their discretion,” she said. “In this day and age, there should be much greater awareness, knowledge and compassion shown.”
Mrs Cressall said while another colleague did eventually offer to serve Alexander the meal, the group had already started to leave the restaurant.
“It is very upsetting when you can be made to feel further isolated from society,” she added.
Last month the restaurant chain, owned by Mitchells & Butlers, hit the headlines after a disabled teenager and her family were asked to leave a Harvester in Hampshire, for making “too much noise”.
A spokeswoman for Mitchells & Butlers said of Friday’s incident: “This was purely a misunderstanding and never our intention to cause Alexander, his family or carers any offence.
“Our manager made every effort to resolve the problem at the time and offered the family the children’s meal without question.”
She said the company had been working with the Business Disability Forum to review its training to meet the needs of disabled guests.
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