A COUPLE claim to have been ‘victimised’ by McDonald’s after they were refused service during a routine visit, resulting in the police being called.
Natalie and Stephen Hearn, who live in the Railway Village, slammed bosses at the Cockleberry roundabout restaurant for, as Natalie put it, “treating us like dirt”.
The couple, both of whom have disabilities and drive a disabled-friendly car, were shocked to discover that staff refused to take Stephen’s order when he attempted to use the drive-thru on Tuesday night.
McDonald’s say the couple aren’t banned, but that they have been disruptive and aggressive towards staff.
A furious Natalie, 34, said: “It’s ridiculous, we just want to be treated like everyone else and use the drive-thru.”
The couple claim the reason they were refused service is due to a series of complaints they have made over the previous months about the ‘poor quality’ of the food. They first made a complaint in August when they got home to discover they hadn’t received what they had ordered. Thereafter they claim mistakes began to occur more frequently.
Natalie said: “We started to get the wrong food on a regular basis and we would let the restaurant know. At least once a week we would get a really rubbish meal. I would phone them to tell them and we were encouraged to report any problems. We didn’t want to get any free food, we just wanted them to know so it wouldn’t happen again.”
According to Natalie, the pair had been refused service before. But after speaking with the manager, it would always get resolved.
She said: “We kept being refused service. I explained the situation that we are both disabled and we use the drive-thru for a reason. We were told that there wouldn’t be any more problems and we would be allowed to use the drive-thru like everyone else.”
But on Tuesday night, Stephen couldn’t believe it when he was again refused service.
Natalie estimates they have made eight complaints about the quality of the food since the first one in August.
“They said we made five complaints in three days, which isn’t true,” said Natalie. “We both use the drive-thru instead of going into the restaurant because we are both very poorly. I have even shown them our blue badge.”
Stephen is currently recovering from a major heart operation and doctors are investigating to see if Natalie has leukaemia.
“Our ill health is a big issue,” she said. “I feel we are being victimised because we are disabled. They are not doing anything for disabled people, they treat us like dirt.”
A spokesman for McDonald’s said: “Mr and Mrs Hearn are not banned from our Cockleberry restaurant.
“On a number of occasions, Mr and Mrs Hearn have caused a disruption to the drive thru and have therefore been asked to purchase food inside the restaurant.
“On Tuesday night, this resulted in Mr Hearn showing aggressive and abusive behaviour towards our staff, culminating in the police being called.
“The only reason for refusal of service in the past would be down to the disruptive behaviour shown by these individuals, and is in no way related to disability.”