A tearful Georgia mom walked out of a Panera earlier this month after an assistant manager told her to remove her developmentally disabled baby’s “noisy” shoes, saying that another customer was complaining. Catherine Duke’s daughter Emma wears prescription orthopedic shoes because without them, walking is difficult for her.
The assistant manager seemed indifferent to the mother’s protest that the child’s shoes were prescribed for her by a doctor. “We weren’t welcome with the shoes. It was very blatant,” Duke said.
Now, the national chain’s corporate office has formally apologized for the incident, saying the employee who asked the shoes be removed was new, and didn’t know how to handle the situation. Ms. Duke informed KOTC Savannah that not only did Panera officials apologize, they want to hold a fund raiser in Emma’s name to help with her medical bills. Duke said that they have taken Emma to specialists all over the country and still do not have a definitive diagnosis as to the cause of her illness.
Panera also issued a formal apology publicly:
[box type=”shadow”]As you would expect, Panera Bread does not tolerate discrimination of any kind. The last thing we would want to do is make anyone feel unwelcome. Consistent with this system-wide policy, our franchisee met personally with Ms. Duke today to directly hear and address the concerns she has raised. We understand from our franchisee that Ms. Duke has been assured that she and her family are always welcome at Panera and her concerns have been addressed.[/box]
All associates at this bakery-cafe will be receiving updated and ongoing customer relations training.”
Now that’s an apology done right. Compare it to the CBS apology for Benghazi-gate here.
Watch a local report on the story below: