Things That Matter

Mother Rejects Pizza Hut’s Apology After Her Special Needs Daughter Was Told to “Hurry Up” and Leave the Restaurant to Make Way for “Regular Customers”

Just when we think the world is making progress accepting people with special needs as human beings who are no different than anyone else, someone pulls off an eye-rolling stunt that makes you worry about the future of humanity. What should’ve been a fun and carefree trip for a group of students turned into an embarrassing day that was memorable for all the wrong reasons. 

According to a Facebook post written by concerned mother, Heather Bensch, a group of special needs children were told to “hurry up” by local Pizza Hut staff in Ripley, Tennessee before “regular people” came into the restaurant.

Image via @clickysound/Twitter

According to Bensch, her 18-year-old daughter, McKaela, was visiting the local Pizza Hut with about 20 other children from her special needs class at Halls High School. Bensch told NBC News that the school had made a reservation ahead of time explaining that this “particular group was coming by”. According to Bensch, this meant that there was no “misunderstanding” on the restaurant’s part as to who the children were. 

Although Bensch wasn’t there, a teacher who was present relayed the details to the parents. The teacher also explained that the group was forced to get their own refills, clean their own tables, and were relegated to using paper plates. 

Infuriated, Bensch took to Facebook to explain the situation and vent her frustration. 

“These kids could teach you a little something about work ethic, compassion, and humanity!!!!” she wrote in a fuming Facebook post that addressed the Pizza Hut staff directly. “Any one of them would go out of their way, even out of their own comfort zones, to help someone else, or just to make them happy. They are all the most sweetest, selfless, and special people that I know, and still expect nothing in return. For them to be treated any less, is not only unacceptable, but heartless!!!!”.

Image via Facebook/Heather Bensch

Users flooded Bensch’s Facebook post with statements of disappointment and shock over the terrible way these students were treated.  “I would love to hear their definition of a ‘regular’ customer,” said one commenter. “Shame on them for being so ignorant. What an absolute disgrace”. “These kids just wanted a special day and leave it to a group of well groomed morons to ruin it,” said another. Users also suggested boycotting the restaurant. Some called to shut it down completely.

Bensch’s post quickly went viral, racking up almost 1,000 shares and over 500 comments. 

In her Facebook post, Bensch explained that “the eye rolling and attitude began the moment that the first child and teacher walked through the door”. “Since management didn’t seem to care, nor did their employees, I think it’s time that this community remind them who keeps their doors open!” she fumed via Facebook. “You know, it’s just us ‘regular’ people, who don’t need their ‘regular’ pizza anyway!”

And Bensch wasn’t the only parent that was upset over the way the children were treated. Keith Duncan, whose stepdaughter is also a part of the special needs class, told local news station WREG that after learning about the incident, he went to the restaurant to get some answers from the management. Instead, he got no response. “They could have handled that a lot better,” he told the outlet. “Just been more professional about it. Just have a little leniency for our kids.”

Bensch’s post first caught the attention of local media before catching the attention of national outlets like NBC News and People magazine

The public outcry was swift, and soon the Lauderdale County School district felt the need to address the incident, holding a meeting with teachers and administrators in order to “get all the facts about what happened”. “I don’t want the kids to think they did anything wrong because they were just in there to have a good time, eat pizza, cut up and have a great Friday,” Superintendent Shawn Kimble told WREG.

As for Pizza Hut, their corporate office released a statement to NBC News attempting to quell the damage one of their branches caused. “Our local franchisee has been in contact with the school principal and superintendent to offer our apologies to the students and teachers and will be meeting with them this week,” a Pizza Hut spokesperson said. “Restaurant management will also be reinforcing our expectations with employees at the store to ensure that our standards of service are upheld going forward.”

Bensch rejects accusations from some commentators that the situation was being “blown out of proportion”.  

“This is not the first time that a disabled group has been treated poorly at this location,” she explained to those who were defending the actions of the employees. 

And as for Pizza Hut’s apology, it wasn’t enough  to make up for the negative experience her daughter had at their restaurant.  “The apology should’ve been given right on the spot to those that were there,” she told NBC News. “As well as initial responsibility taken for what happened.”

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Two Black Moms Took Their Kids To Play In A Fountain On The Mall Then Secret Service Officers Swarmed Them With Guns

Things That Matter

Two Black Moms Took Their Kids To Play In A Fountain On The Mall Then Secret Service Officers Swarmed Them With Guns

Chip Somodevilla / Getty

Two Black mothers headed to our nation’s capital last week to give their children some playtime in the fountains at the World War II Memorial. The day was hot and the mothers thought the memorial would be a perfect place to let their children cool down and have some fun.

Unfortunately, the day quickly turned sinister when the women and their children were swarmed by Secret Service agents who pointed a rifle at them.

Last Thursday, India Johnson, 26, and Yasmeen Winston, 25, were driving their infants to take a splash in the fountains at the memorial when a Secret Service cruiser drove into their front left bumper.

The two women have reportedly been best friends since seventh grade and are mothers to boys: 13-month-old Sir Quincy (Johnson) and six-month-old G’esus (Winston). Both Sir Quincy and G’esus were sitting in the back seat of the car that they were driving. According to the women, Mother Goose Club was playing on the radio. Then, within seconds of the Secret Service cruiser driving into their car, an officer pointed a rifle at them and yelled “Get out!” and “Put your hands in the air!”

Soon enough, more officers surrounded them with guns. Eventually, Winston and Johnson were handcuffed and separated from their children. According to both women, they were detained without being given a reason as to why and were spoken to by police officers who did not wear masks, despite the current coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Washington Post, “Initially, the women said, an officer told them the vehicle had been reported stolen and that the suspects were two Black men. But the women, both African American, said no men were with them and provided proof that Johnson was the owner. She told the Secret Service she had never reported the car stolen. Eventually, the women were released — without an apology or answers to their questions.”

Winston and Johnson are now demanding that the Secret Service investigate the incident and release the details to the public.

“This incident took place near our national monuments across from the White House,” Timothy Maloney, the women’s attorney, wrote in a letter to Secret Service Director James Murray over the weekend. “It occurred after eight weeks of unprecedented national demonstrations about excessive police conduct, some of which took place right there on Constitution Avenue. Has the Secret Service learned nothing this summer?”

Speaking about the incident Winston told the Washington Post “I could have been another Breonna Taylor. I could have been another innocent woman who has no record and got shot.”

In a statement to the Post, a Secret Service spokesperson said that they had received a “query requesting the agency investigate an alleged interaction between Uniformed Division Officers and two members of the public” and that they are looking into the incident.

Winston says she and Johnson have spent the days after the incident completely traumatized.

Winston told the Post that she is currently seeking therapy and their friend is avoiding going outside of her home. “We don’t get in trouble. Nothing like this has ever happened to us. I thought the police were here to serve and protect us, and now it’s really uncomfortable,” she explained.

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A Muslim Teen Has Filed A Discrimination Claim After A Starbucks Put “ISIS” On Her Cup

Things That Matter

A Muslim Teen Has Filed A Discrimination Claim After A Starbucks Put “ISIS” On Her Cup

KSTP / Via Facebook: watch

After enduring quite a bit of pain over receiving a cup with the word “ISIS” instead of her name, a Muslim teenager has filed a human rights complaint. According to the teenager whose name (as reported by Buzzfeed) is Aishah, on July 1 she and a friend went to a Starbucks located inside of a Target in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The 19-year-old said that a barista asked her to repeat her name when taking her order, but she was shocked by what she saw when she first received it.

Aishah says that she feels as if the incident happened because she was wearing a hijab and a face mask.

“I felt a lot of emotions, and shock was the main one because I actually couldn’t believe this was happening,” Aishah told BuzzFeed News.

Speaking about the incident, the deputy director of the Minnesota chapter of Council on American–Islamic Relations, Mohamed Ibrahim said “This is a reminder that Islamophobia is alive and present in our communities.” In an effort to address the issue, the group has made efforts to help Aishah file a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

In her interview with Buzzfeed, Aishah said the barista said that “ISIS” had been put on a cup because they hadn’t heard her name correctly. According to Buzzfeed, the Target employee who served Aishah said “they did not hear her name.”

When a manager attempted to explain to Aishah that people’s names are frequently misspelled on cups, she said that the explanations were “not credible or acceptable.”

“When somebody orders a drink at Starbucks — if the barista can’t spell the name, then they ask you to spell it,” Aishah explained in her interview that such a mistake had never happened with her order.

Aishah’s human rights complaint, claims a manager offered her a free drink and a $25 gift card for her troubles and had her escorted out by security.

Target, which oversees the Starbucks location where the incident happened, told BuzzFeed in a statement that it’s “very sorry for this guest’s experience at our store and immediately apologized to her when she made our store leaders aware of the situation.”

A spokesperson also explained that an internal investigation found “it was not a deliberate act but an unfortunate mistake” and that the company will offer additional training to the barista. According to Aishah, she has yet to hear from Target since she called the company to complain. She also has not heard from CAIR-MN.

Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of CAIR-MN, is calling for the barista and manager in question to be fired and for Target and Starbucks to reinvest in training for their employees. “We are hoping that bringing light to this incident will actually transform how Target and Starbucks and many other companies deal with such incidents,” Hussein said.

Unfortunately, it’s not the first time Starbucks has received such a complaint.

In August of last year, a man told a barista at a Philadelphia Starbucks that his name was Aziz. He was soon given a drink with the term “ISIS.”

“The barista mistakenly spelled it incorrectly,” a Starbucks spokesperson told NBC News at the time.

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