Mum claims she was forced to strip incontinent toddler in front of shocked McDonald’s diners
The mother of a severely ill toddler has blasted McDonald’s after she claimed she was forced to change the youngster in front of a packed restaurant when he wet himself and was not allowed to use the disabled toilets.
Katie Barker said her three-year-old son Mitchell – who is incontinent, cannot speak and has multiple organ problems – was left humiliated when she had to strip him naked in full view of other London diners.
The 27-year-old said staff prevented her and Mitchell from using the disabled toilets because of a broken lock – despite her saying she didn’t mind while there was not room in the female toilets.
Mitchell was born with an extra chromosome and is thought to be the only child in the UK with his specific condition – which is so rare it doesn’t even have a name.
Katie, who had eaten lunch at the venue with Mitchell and her mum Pauline, 56, said the family were ‘gobsmacked’ at the way they were treated at restaurant in Eden Street, Kingston-upon-Thames in South West London.
Katie, 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 bothered 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.”
Katie said 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.
Katie, who has another son, Callum, one, 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 spokesperson said: “We apologise for Ms Barker’s experience when visiting our restaurant this weekend. As a matter of urgency we are investigating what happened with the restaurant team and in the meantime our customer services team is in touch with Ms Barker.”
A McDonald’s Spokesperson 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.”