Girl Asked To Leave KFC Restaurant Because Scars Were Scaring Customers

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FacebookVictoria Wilcher
[UPDATE] Since publication, questions have been made about the sequence of events involving this story.

A 3-year-old girl who is recovering from a vicious pitbull attack last April was asked to leave a KFC restaurant in Jackson, Mississippi by an employee who said the girl's scars were scaring other customers.

"They just told us, 'We have to ask you to leave because her face is disrupting our customers,'" Kelly Mullins, grandmother of the injured Victoria Wilcher, told WAPT-TV in Jackson.

"The right side of her face is paralyzed," Mullins said. "She's got a lot of surgeries to go through and she won't even look in the mirror anymore. When we go to a store, she doesn't even want to get out [of the car]. "

Not surprisingly, the story has ignited a social media wildfire. Along with an upcoming story this morning on the Today Show, a page on Facebook called Victoria's Victories has netted close to 40,000 Likes and even some donations for medical expenses.

The headline next to a photograph of Victoria reads: Does this face look scary to you?

KFC responded quickly to the report, posting a response in the comments:

"We take this very seriously, as we have zero tolerance for any kind of hurtful or disrespectful actions toward our guests," KFC spokesman Rick Maynard said in a statement. "Our investigation is ongoing, but we have been in touch with the family and are committed to doing something appropriate for this beautiful little girl and her family. We will also work with the franchisee to take appropriate action at the restaurant once the specifics of the incident are determined."

The incident, Mullins said, left the girl in tears. "She understood exactly what they said."

Of course she did. Early on, those of us who are told we look "different" fully grasp the sting of the word. What happened to little Victoria is similar to what I've experienced since a childhood accident left me burned on 60 percent of my body. Like Victoria, I was lucky to survive my lengthy hospitalization and surgeries. Like Victoria, I quickly learned that tortuous medical procedures are nothing compared to the cruel treatment meted out to those with scars.

When I landed a dream job at a television station early in my career, my new boss outlined a key requirement: Wear a jacket to cover up your scars. Otherwise, no air time. When I resisted, he shot back: "Better go back to radio then."

Another boss told me, when denying me a promotion: "You have the perfect personality for this job. I wish I could take your brain and put it on Susan's body. Your scars are too distracting."

"No matter what's wrong with a person, if a person's different, if a person's scarred, or is a different color or anything, people shouldn't be discriminated against," Mullins continued. "Her being 3 years old and already being discriminated against, it makes me mad, because I know for the rest of her life it's going to be like that."

How can we end discrimination like this? Post your ideas in the comments, please.
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