The Braun family’s dinner at Outback Steakhouse on Saturday was short-lived.
A manager at the restaurant in Glen Burnie, Maryland, approached their table about five minutes after their food came and asked how they liked their meals, Amanda Braun wrote on Facebook.
Then the manager followed up with an unexpected request: to finish their food and leave. Another customer had complained about noise from Braun’s 4-year-old son, Killian, he told them.
Killian was born with childhood apraxia of speech, a disorder in which speech muscles don’t work normally because the brain has trouble coordinating their movements, Braun wrote. Children with this condition may pronounce certain letters in a distorted way or separate syllables between words.
The restaurant manager gave Braun’s family a $20 credit to Outback, Braun wrote, but they had no intention of dining there again.
“What would ever make me want to return?” Braun wrote. “Would we be asked to leave again if my son were to be loud?”
Elizabeth Watts, a spokeswoman for Outback Steakhouse, said in a statement that the company had apologized to the family.
“We strive to make sure all guests feel comfortable and welcomed in our restaurants and we fell short,” Watts said. “We’re learning from what happened and training our team so we can better serve our diverse guest population.”
Along with food reviews and prices, accessibility is a primary factor when people with disabilities choose where to dine out. For someone who is fully or partially deaf, a loud restaurant can be more than just a nuisance and can prevent the guest from hearing their fellow diners at all. A diner with limited mobility may not be able to go to a restaurant where the restrooms are down a flight of stairs.
The Brauns, however, had no problems bringing Killian to restaurants in the past. He was acting normally at Outback – which does involve making occasional noise – and stayed with the family in their booth, Braun told WJLA.
“The anger has subsided,” Braun told WJLA, “and I’m left with sadness for my son and his future struggles of being in public.”