One of the best ways to bond with your family is over a meal, but for one family in Maryland a family dinner at their local Outback Steakhouse left them feeling angry and heartbroken after they were asked to leave because of their 4-year-old son with special needs.
Amanda Braun was excited to spend time with her family over the dinner table Saturday night. According to a now-viral Facebook post, the evening started off well.
“We were seated almost immediately,” Braun wrote. “We ordered our drinks while skimming the menu then finally ordered our dinner. Our meals came out in good time and all of us were enjoying ourselves.”
“A man approached our table about 5 minutes after our food was brought out and introduced himself as the manager. He asked us how our meals were but he didn’t stop there.”
Braun said that the manager told them that another patron had complained about the “noise” from 4-year-old Killian and that they would need to finish their meals and leave.
Killian was born with a neurological disorder called Childhood Apraxia of Speech. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, this disorder occurs when messages sent from the brain that tell the muscles of the mouth how to move in order to speak are disrupted.
“A child with CAS knows what they want to say,” ASHA wrote on their website. “The problem is not how the child thinks but how the brain tells the mouth muscles to move.”
For Killian specifically, Braun wrote that when her son speaks, the words are unclear.
Braun told WJLA that she and her family were sitting in the back of the restaurant to accommodate the size of their party and that her son was making some noise, but that it wasn’t constant.
She also added that Killian stayed in the booth with the family.
The manager did deliver his message with remorse, saying that he was “uncomfortable” as he relayed the message.
Braun wrote that she was in “total shock.”
The manager also offered a $20 gift card as an apology, but Braun said that she would not be going back.
“Why would I subject my son and the rest of my family to that type of discrimination?” she wrote. “What would ever make me want to return? Would we be asked to leave again if my son were to be loud?”
“Outback labels itself as a family friendly restaurant just not families with special needs restaurant.”
Cathie Koch of Bloomin’ Brands, the parent company of Outback Steakhouse, told The Western Journal in a statement that they have reached out to Braun and her family to apologize.
“We strive to make sure all guests feel comfortable and welcomed in our restaurants and we fell short,” Koch wrote to The Western Journal. “We’re learning from what happened and training our team so we can better serve our diverse guests.”
Braun confirmed to WJLA that Bloomin’ Brands has apologized and even offered to donate money to an organization that works with other children like Killian, but Braun is still unsure if she will accept their offer.
Most of all, Braun hopes that this story will remind other people just how difficult it can be for families of children with special needs and encourage them to be more understanding.
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