Family claims restaurant refused them service because their son is in a wheelchair
MEERS, Okla. -- A family from Tuttle said they went to experience "Oklahoma's Best Burgers" in Meers, but were turned away.
According to the Ford family, their day of fun was ruined because a restaurant wouldn't allow their son, who is in a wheelchair, inside to eat.
Meers' owner claimed this was a big misunderstanding.
See photos of the Tuttle family:
"You have a 16-year-old man, he has a buddy with him, it's embarrassing and it's humiliating," said Kelly Ford.
"I'm angry," said Kaleb Ford.
After a day of exploring Mount Scott, the Ford family was hungry for a burger.
"You have a ramp, you have someone that wants to patronize your establishment, you don't deny them and you definitely don't be rude about it," said Kelly Ford.
Kelly Ford said the door by the ramp was locked. So he went inside to ask an employee about which accessible entrance they should use.
"She said I would have to ask all these people to move, so we really don't have a wheelchair entrance. So I said you have no way to get a wheelchair in here, she said no," said Ford.
When KFOR Reporter Ashley Kringen asked Meers' owner, "So you believe your employee did not deny them service," he replied, "No, absolutely not. Absolutely not."
Joe Maranto has owned Meers for 33 years.
He said his staff accommodates visitors with physical disabilities all the time, claiming this was a misunderstanding.
"I'm sorry that the incident happened. I would do whatever I could to correct the situation," said Maranto.
Lisa Wiedemann was there when the Ford family confronted the manager.
"She offered to move everybody against the wall so we could bring the wheelchair up. We do that with walkers, canes, any elderly people," said Wiedemann.
However, the Ford family believes they were mistreated and now they're standing up for equal rights.
"It's not our intention to bring harm to the establishment, or harm to the owners, our intention is to get it changed," said Ford.
The Fords are looking for changes that Meers' staff said they recognize to prevent future misunderstandings.
"Just better communication and maybe explain better," said Wiedemann.
"It talks about a family atmosphere, but if it's going to be a family atmosphere, open it up to all families, not just able bodied people," said Ford.
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