Outback Steakhouse Told Family to Leave Because of Their 'Noisy' Child With Special Needs
Maryland mom Amanda Braun took to Facebook to detail the incident, explaining that her 4-year-old was born with childhood apraxia of speech.
Sure, dining out with little ones can be challenging. But for a family in Maryland, enjoying a meal out with their son Killian at an Outback Steakhouse in Glen Burnie was turning out to be a perfectly lovely experience—until a fellow restaurant patron lodged a complaint against them. The other customer reportedly took issue with the 4-year-old's "noises."
Amanda Braun took to Facebook on August 5 to detail the upsetting incident. "We were seated almost immediately," she 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 up until we were asked to leave because of a noise complaint about my 4-year-old son."
Braun went on to explain that Killian was born with childhood apraxia of speech, a neurological disorder that impacts how he talks. "This disorder affects Killian in many ways especially communication and behavioral," she said. "He is a very energetic kid with much to say, however when he speaks his words are unclear."
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According to the Mayo Clinic, CAS causes the brain to struggle to direct or coordinate the movements necessary for speech movement. The disorder is often treated with speech therapy.
Braun explained that the manager approached the family's table about five minutes after their food showed up. "He asked us how our meals were but he didn’t stop there," she wrote. "This gentleman said that he received a noise complaint for my child. He said that he was very uncomfortable coming to our table to tell us that but unfortunately we needed to finish our meals and leave. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I was in total shock!"
He offered the family a $20 credit to use at a later date. "Needless to say there isn’t going to be a later date," Braun shared. "Why would I subject my son and the rest of my family to that type of discrimination? What would ever make me want to return? Would we be asked to leave again if my son were to be loud? This is not OK, and I’m not stopping here. I will be in contact with corporate." She went on to encourage anyone who saw the post to share it, concluding, "Outback labels itself as a family-friendly restaurant—just not families with special needs restaurant."
Commenters who weighed in were outraged. Jennie Colegrove wrote, "I am so angry and hurt for you guys this is absolutely atrocious!!!! He could have told the guy that if he didn’t like it, he can leave his damn self. Shame on Outback Steakhouse for being discriminatory towards a child whom can’t even help themselves."
In response to the incident, Outback Steakhouse offered the following statement to Parents.com: "We've been in contact with the family and have personally apologized. We strive to make sure all guests feel comfortable and welcomed in our restaurants and we fell short. We’re learning from what happened and training our team so we can better serve our diverse guests."
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Braun told Today on Tuesday, August 13 that regional vice president Jackie Myers, had been "very sincere and apologetic." Myers suggested the company make a donation to Braun's charity of choice, and the Maryland mom chose the 2019 DC Walk for Apraxia.
"I asked if they wanted to be a sponsor for the walk, and Jackie thought that was an amazing idea," Braun said. "She is also talking with planners about doing a food truck."
Braun also shared with Today that Outback Steakhouse will be rolling out new disability training in the next six weeks.