McDonald’s outlet turns away blind customer

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By Lai Ee Na

Happy Singapore residents quickly snapped up McDonald’s free Egg McMuffins on March 17, but a blind woman said on Facebook that “blind people are not entitled”.

Cassandra Chiu, 34, who posted her comment at Esme the Guide Dog’s Facebook account on the same day, said staff at the Jurong Central Park outlet “refused to serve us”.

Esme, her guide dog, accompanies her when she is out.

Her post attracted a storm of protests from other Facebook users, a few of whom also let their displeasure known at the McDonald’s Singapore’s account.

A “Karen Huiru”, Chiu’s Facebook friend, said in her post that she heard McDonald’s counter staff shouting “HELLO, OEI, NO DOGS HERE!” when they were at the outlet.

Chiu said in an interview that she wanted to buy coffee and hash browns when she heard a few voices shouting that no dogs are allowed.

Her friend demanded to see the manager, who apologised and told them to return another day since the place was crowded.

“Whether the manager wanted to decide whether I was eating there or not, I just want to be treated equally as any other customer who’s there to spend. I’m not asking for special treatment,” she said.

Within two hours of Chiu’s post, McDonald’s Singapore uploaded a Facebook statement, saying that a counter staff member mistook Esme for a pet and advised Chiu that no pets were allowed.

Kevin Lim, senior communications manager of McDonald’s Restaurants, said: “Upon learning this, the manager in charge of the restaurant immediately apologised and offered to assist the customer with her order.

The chain will also counsel the staff member involved.

We would like to clarify that McDonald’s welcomes guide dogs at our premises, and we have a standing policy to that effect,” Lim added.

Chiu however pointed out that only five outlets accept guide dogs in their premises, and the one at Isetan Scotts has closed down.

“I hope the country I grew up in can be gracious,” she said.

McDonald’s giveaways were part of National Breakfast Day, a promotion by the 5,000 chain’s outlets across Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

According to the Straits Times, by 11am, all McMuffins in Singapore were fully redeemed across 115 stores around the island.

Picture credits:  Asme’s facebook page.