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Little Person Says Clerk Screamed, Ran From Him
Restaurant Promises Additional Training For Workers
Ethan Wade had made a purchase at the drive-through window of the McDonald's on Howell Road in Greenville County, and when there was a problem with the order, he went inside.
He said one counter employee made it clear that she didn't like the way he looked.
Wade said, "Young lady had her back turned to the counter and when she turned around and spotted me she threw her hands up in the air, started yelling 'Oh, my gosh! Oh my gosh!' and ran to the back of the restaurant, continuing to yell as she was in back of the restaurant."
Wade said that the employee's response caught the attention of other customers, as well as her co-workers.
He said, "The person that was coming to help me actually responded, 'I thought you had a gun. I thought you were robbing the place.' "
Wade said that the shift manager and store manager apologized after the incident. He said the employee who screamed told a supervisor that she had a phobia of little people.
And 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.
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."
We have a strict policy prohibiting any form of discrimination and we continually strive to maintain an environment in which everyone feels valued and accepted."
Wade said he wants to make sure all the employees at the restaurant receive disability awareness training,
He said, "Little People of America is going to write a letter on my behalf stating that they do some type of disability awareness training."
According to the franchise owner's statement, all her employees will receive additional training to ensure they serve all customers with respect.
Wade said, "You can't have a phobia of a person. I'm a human being. You can't have that type of phobia."
Adding insult to injury, Wade said that the restaurant never corrected his order or gave him anything to compensate for it.
"I haven't even gotten anything from that yet," he said. "You know, I was thinking a coupon or something."
Wade said he has no intention of filing s lawsuit. He said he is working with an attorney because he wants to go through all the right channels to make sure McDonald's will be sure their workers receive disability awareness training.
Wade Talks About Being A Little Person
He said, "A lot of people think midget is the correct terminology. Actually, that is so wrong. It's a very, very slang word to the Little People society and reason being is that word originates from the early 18th century when they used to do the circuses and fairs and they would put little people in situations as part of a 'freak show' and they would title it a 'freak show.' And that it is why it's so unacceptable to little people."
Wade said that there is an appropriate way for others to deal with those who they think are different than them.
"I want people to say, 'That's a little person or dwarf,' and then I want them to come up to me and introduce themselves because I want them to get to know Ethan Wade and who Ethan Wade is."
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