McDonald's operation VP apologizes for treatment of Down's patron

06/26/2013 08:47 PM

Kaohsiung, June 26 (CNA) A high-ranking executive of McDonald's Taiwan apologized Wednesday to a patron with Down's syndrome who was told to leave one of the fast food chain's restaurants in the southern port city of Kaohsiung last week.

Susan Lu, operation vice president for McDonald's Taiwan, offered the apology on behalf of the franchise to the patron, surnamed Wang, and her family at a news conference held at the food chain's Wufu branch in Kaohsiung.

Her apology came after disability rights activists staged protests at McDonald's Taipei headquarters over the past two days demanding a sincere apology from the franchise's CEO.

According to media reports, Wang went to the McDonald's Yochang outlet in Kaohsiung June 22 to buy an ice cream, but the manager thought she was causing trouble for other guests and called the police, claiming that a homeless person was shouting in the restaurant.

"Our staff's treatment of Wang was really inappropriate and we apologize to her for causing her discomfort when she was intending to dine at our store," Lu said.

She further expressed gratitude for Wang's generosity in accepting apologies from the Yochang branch management, as well as from senior executives at McDonald's Taiwan headquarters.

On the timing of her news conference, Lu explained that it took a few days for the company to finalize its investigation and again apologized for the company's shoddy handling of the incident.

"We are sorry about our failure to meet the expectations of the public," Lu said, adding that the company is determined to strengthen its staff training and to continue to improve its services for every patron without discrimination or prejudice.

In Taipei meanwhile, disability rights advocacy groups continued their protests in front of McDonald's headquarters, urging the franchise to release surveillance video of what actually happened at the Kaohsiung store when Wang was ejected.

Some children with Down's syndrome also took part in the demonstration. When McDonald's staff went out to offer them drinks, they rejected the offer.

"We want the truth and we want an apology," they chanted.

Lin Mei-chih, secretary-general of the Republic of China Down's Syndrome Foundation, said that nearly 500,000 people had thrown their support behind a joint call by various disability groups for a formal apology by McDonald's.

(By Lung Jui-yun and Sofia Wu)ENDITEM/J

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