Special Needs Teen & Family Kicked Out of Restaurant Because She Was 'Annoying'

menuMost of us have a great deal of compassion for parents with a disabled child. They have to contend with things that many can't even imagine. Though not everyone is so understanding. When Megan Brennan and her family went out to dinner, they were asked to leave because the disabled teen was being too loud and annoying other customers.

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Nineteen-year-old Megan suffers from Angleman Syndrome, which causes a severe mental and physical disability. As such, she has the mental capacity of a 1-year-old. The family brought her to Ham Farm Harvesters in Eastleigh, Hampshire, England for a final goodbye dinner before she was to be put into full-time care. Though that special evening came to a sad and abrupt end thanks to people who had little empathy for them.

Her condition forces her to communicate by raising her voice and making sounds. In the middle of the meal, the manager came over to complain that Megan was annoying customers and asked the Brennans to leave. According to her mother, Helen, he said, "If you can't keep her quiet, I am going to have to ask you to leave." However, the family would not comply. "We asked people if they wanted us to leave. No one said they complained so we refused to go. We've been to far posher restaurants and never been asked to leave."

Helen even asked the manager if he had read the Disability Discrimination Act. Still, he wouldn't apologize for how he treated them. The evening made their entire situation that much more heartbreaking. They were hoping to give her a sweet send-off; instead, she was coldly mistreated.

After the story was publicized, the restaurant sent an apology and a gift certificate to the family. But not surprisingly, they have no intention of ever stepping foot in the eatery again.

I am just glad this mother was strong enough to stand her ground. Put in a similar position, some people may have left the restaurant embarrassed and ashamed -- even though it is the rude, inconsiderate, and uncompassionate manager who was in the wrong. Perhaps Megan was being loud. Perhaps other patrons found it "annoying." But it's not as though she was a rowdy, ill-mannered toddler who hadn't been taught better. This is a child with special needs. If you can't tolerate her behavior, then leave. Don't ruin the meal for this clearly struggling family. We should all extend the same kindness and courtesy we would want if we were in that type of situation.

Do you think the manager was doing the right thing by prioritizing the comfort of the other patrons?

 

Image © JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Corbis

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