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Mother Of Severely Disabled Toddler Was Forced To Change Son In Front Of Customers At Packed London McDonald’s

August 20, 2015

A mother was ‘forced’ to change her severely ill toddler’s nappy in front of a packed McDonald’s restaurant after being refused access to the disabled toilets.

Katie Barker said her three-year-old boy, Mitchell, needed changing after their meal at the fast-food eatery on Eden Street, Kingston-upon-Thames, in London.

A sign on the disabled toilet door said the lock was broken, but Miss Barker didn’t mind using it, as going to the upstairs female toilets would have provided logistical problems. 

Mitchell was born with an extra chromosome and is thought to be the only child in the UK with his specific condition, which is said to be so rare that it doesn’t even have a name. 

He uses a special push chair to get around.

The three-year-old is incontinent, he can’t speak and he has multiple organ problems.

The family were told they couldn’t use the disabled toilets by a ‘rude’ member of staff. 

After realising there was no room to change Mitchell in the upstairs female loos, Miss Barker stripped her son in front of the crowded restaurant. 

McDonald’s said there was a ‘miscommunication’ which led to the family’s ordeal.

Miss Barker, who was also with her mum Pauline Barker, 56, said the family were ‘gobsmacked’ at the way they were treated.

The mother-of-two, from West Molesey, Surrey, said: ‘After we had finished our food I noticed Mitchell was wet and needed changing.

‘I had his radar key and took him to the disabled toilet. There was a sign on the door saying the lock was broken, which didn’t bother me too much as we could have just held the door closed.

‘I asked a member of staff if we were still allowed to use it and she said no. She was so rude.

‘I was told to take him upstairs, which was a problem in itself as Mitchell has serious balance and stability problems. He uses a special push chair to get around.

‘We struggled to walk up the 30 or 40 steps, and proceeded to go to the female toilets.

‘When I walked in, there were three cubicles and just enough room in front of the sink for one adult to stand.

‘Where exactly am I meant to change a big three-year-old? So we made our way down stairs and I changed him standing up where we were seated in front of every other customer in there.

‘I found it highly unacceptable and actually quite degrading for my son.’ 

Mitchell, who has a hole in his neck as a result of a tracheotomy as a baby, struggled to cope with the attention during the 15-minute ordeal at the restaurant.

Miss Barker, who also has a one-year-old son called Callum, said: ‘We had plenty of filthy looks from other customers and I don’t blame them.

‘A child being changed while they’re eating but there was no way I was going to leave him wet.

‘I suggest McDonald’s seriously reviews its staff in that store and the changing facilities for the disabled.

‘Disabled isn’t one specific type of person. There’s lots of varieties and each and every one of them deserve to feel human and keep their dignity no matter what age they are.’

A McDonald’s spokesman today said: ‘We apologise for Ms Barker’s experience when visiting our restaurant this weekend. 

‘Due to a miscommunication, Ms Barker was directed to the female toilets upstairs. 

‘Had the team been aware of the circumstances, they would have happily ensured she and her son had access to the disabled toilets downstairs. 

‘Our customer services team is in touch with Ms Barker to clarify the situation.’

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 20, 2015 12:36 am

    Reblogged this on lawrencerowntree.

  2. August 20, 2015 12:07 pm

    miscommunication is what lands company’s in court

  3. August 21, 2015 9:09 am

    I think I would have gone to another shop to change my son tbh, even though Mccdonalds was at fault.


  1. Mother Of Severely Disabled Toddler Was Forced To Change Son In Front Of Customers At Packed London McDonald’s | Same Difference | sdbast

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