Costa Coffee apologise for kicking out a mum and her disabled son
COFFEE giants Costa have apologised to a mother who was thrown out for feeding her disabled son.
Clair Walker was asked to leave after a customer complained she was put off her latte by 15-month-old Brayden being fed via a tube.
Clair, 29, and her husband, Kenneth, 44, said they were told not to return to the Aberdeen shop after the incident on September 4.
Costa investigated after a friend of the couple posted about the incident on Facebook, prompting an angry reaction.
The firm said it had apologised to the family and said it would deal with the member of staff involved.
Staff asked Clair to leave the Bon Accord Centre café after a customer complained they “could hear the wind in his tube”.
Clair said: “I felt the whole situation was disrespectful but I am pleased that Costa called me to apologise.
“I agree that this is a one-off, isolated situation, caused by one person and not Costa as an organisation.”
Brayden suffers from posterior urethral valves, a serious kidney condition, and needs 24 hour care.
He is fed by a machine that administers exact quantities of milk and medication through a tube.
Claire added: “Brayden gets air through it when he feeds.
“The staff said it was making other customers uncomfortable and could we stop and leave.
“They said not to come back – I assumed that meant ‘ever’.”
“Nobody bats an eyelid when a woman breast-feeds in public – but when you feed a child through a tube they’re outraged.
“I was sickened that someone could be so shallow.”
In a statement a Costa spokesman said: “We are able to confirm that we have now spoken to Mrs Walker, the lady involved, and sincerely apologised for the incident involving her family.
“We will deal with the staff member involved in line with our human resource procedures. We will reinforce our policies around disability to all Costa team members at the earliest opportunity.
“We will increase our focus on teaching staff how to deal better with sensitive situations whatever they may be.”
The coffee chain were partner in a scheme in 2009 that helped disabled people gain work placements and employment.
Richard Hamer from Capability Scotland, a campaign group for the disabled, said: “It seems the everyday lives of disabled children are too much for some people to stomach.
“Costa must take action to show they won’t tolerate such discrimination.”
Aberdeen MSP Kevin Stewart said: “Common sense and courtesy shouldn’t have allowed this.”
The Equality and Human Rights Commission for Scotland said that it is possible to look into further action if the Walker family register a complaint.
An EHRC spokeswoman said: “In cases like this we would encourage Claire and Kenneth to get in touch with our helpline and we can assess the situation from there.”
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