Yesterday we were denied entry at Pizza Hut, Mid Valley Megamall by the Shift Manager because dad was on a wheelchair. Imagine that! This is what happened.
There were 7 of us. My sister and I, my two kids, dad on his wheelchair, a maid and dad’s nurse. It was about 2.30 to 3pm. Initially we had gone to Dominos. However we decided to go to Pizza Hut instead because we thought that the Dominos place was a bit small and we would be a bit more comfortable at Pizza Hut. When we got to Pizza Hut, we were happy to find two tables for 4 each which could be joined together. Just nice for our party of 8.
Sister and I and the kids were walking ahead looking for a place to sit. I turned round to gesture to the nurse to show her which table we were at but she was gesturing something to me so I went over to her at the entrance. She said that they were not allowed to go in because of dad’s wheelchair. The lady who had denied my dad, the nurse and the maid entry confirmed it. She said that the wheelchair was too big and it would take up space and make it difficult for people to move about. It was just an ordinary wheelchair, not very bulky.
Now, we have taken dad to many places to eat before. We have been to more crowded places, like a crowded mamak shop during peak hours where the place was very hard to move about and all the staff did was help us move the tables around to make dad more comfortable. It is as simple as that. Usually, all we had to do is remove one chair from the table and push dad right up to it.
Yesterday, we were there AFTER peak hours. The lunch crowd had left. We had found a table. There were several other empty tables. Though the place was small, we would not have been blocking any other diners because it was no longer packed. But that is besides the point. The point is this lady, who is supposed to be the shift “manager” turned dad away, a senior citizen on a wheelchair. She was not in the least apologetic about it either. She pointed to a group of diners and said “Look, we have no space, even that has to be at left at the side”. At first I thought she was talking about a shopping trolley but I turned to see that she had pointed at a pram. How ridiculous is that! It is also ridiculous of her to deny us entry even after peak hours just because of dad’s wheelchair.
We were terribly annoyed. We gave her a piece of our mind and left. Perhaps we could have made more of a fuss and got a place to sit eventually. However, we were late and everyone was hungry and I no longer had any desire to have my meal there, even if it is for free. Worse still, I no longer wish to part with my money for lunch there! So we left. We went back to Dominos and sat ourselves down promptly without any fuss.
I thought that dad who has dementia and is sometimes a bit blur may not have noticed what was happening but he did. He started telling a story about how his friend used to frequent a place for his birthday and how they went to the place and could sit anywhere they want because they had money. Poor dad. No one wants to be wheelchair bound and being turned away from an eatery because of it is worse.
I was upset, I dreamed about it again in my sleep last night. 🙁
Updated: I have spoken to the Restaurant Manager who was most apologetic and kind when she heard that we were refused entry because of dad’s wheelchair. She said that they would normally place wheelchair users at the front of the restaurant for more ease and mobility. She said that we could call her personal number anytime we want to go and she will reserve a place for us. Ok. At least I know that this discrimination is not a policy of the restaurant. I hope that she will have a word with the staff with the wrong attitude. Thats settled then.