STILLWATER, Okla. – An organization that takes care of people with intellectual disabilities says their clients were kicked out of a restaurant because of their special needs.
“One of my clients was visibly upset. He was so excited to go and as we were leaving, he was crying and that breaks your heart,” said caretaker Harley White.
She says the group has been to this specific Buffalo Wild Wings a dozen times over the past two months with no problems.
But recently, they were allegedly told to leave upon arrival.
Thinking it must have been a mistake, they tried their luck again on Friday.
“I talked to the general manager and I asked her, I was like, ‘What’s the issue? Why can’t we come in and eat?,’” said “White. “She’s like, ‘I’m not going to serve your clients.’ Because at this point, I had made it clear, I was like, ‘Are you denying services to special needs people?’ And she was like, ‘Yes.’ And I was like, ‘You’re okay saying they’re not allowed to come in here and have dinner like anyone else?.’ And she was like, ‘Yes.’”
White says her clients get excited but don’t misbehave.
“They speak differently,” said White. “Two of our clients are nonverbal. They communicate using sounds.”
We reached out to the manager in question and she denied the group was told to leave because of their disabilities.
A corporate representative sent us this statement:
“Wanted to confirm receipt of your inquiry. The location you referenced is a franchise location and I have shared your request with the owner.”
The owner, Jeromy Howard, then sent us this statement:
“The Stillwater Buffalo Wild Wings franchise, takes the safety of our Guests seriously and as a result had to deny a special request made as it was in violation of fire code. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
White, however, says that’s just a cover.
“I’m not sure how we would have violated the fire code by being in the restaurant,” she said. “So, that kind of upsets me that they used a different reason, that they couldn’t say, ‘Yes, we made a mistake. We shouldn’t have discriminated against your clients and this is what we’re using to cover ourselves.’”
A parent of one of the clients told us she plans to take legal action.