McDonald's, the world's largest fast food chain, found itself in hot water this week after an employee in Taiwan mistook a female customer with Down syndrome for a homeless person. The employee then called the police and asked the woman to leave, according to the Focus Taiwan News Channel.
Susan Lu, Operation Vice President for McDonald's Taiwan, reportedly issued an apology at a news conference in Kaohsiung on behalf of the company Wednesday.
"Our staff's treatment of Wang was really inappropriate and we apologize to her for causing her discomfort when she was intending to dine at our store," Lu said. "We are sorry about our failure to meet the expectations of the public."
When contacted for comment by The Huffington Post, Steve Mazeika, the McDonald’s Corporation supervisor of global external communications, reiterated Lu's sentiments.
“We would like to assure you that at McDonald’s, we value and respect all our customers and employees, and we believe every individual deserves great service in our restaurants,” Mazeika wrote in an email. “We have sincerely apologized to the customer and her family for the unfortunate experience, and at the same time, our colleagues in Taiwan are thoroughly investigating the matter."
This is the second time in the last two months that McDonald's has garnered criticism for offending customers with disabilities. In April, McDonald’s apologized for a Big Mac advertisement that some say mocked mental illness. The company, for its part, said the ad had not been approved.
Pizza Hut separately found itself in trouble earlier this month for a commercial that some say poked fun at people with visual impairments.