Published January 13, 2014
Panera Bread is apologizing to a toddler and her family after a manager at the chain restaurant made the girl take off her prescription orthopedic shoes because they squeaked.
Catherine Duke and her daughter Emma were eating in the Savannah, Georgia restaurant when an assistant manager asked the two-year-old girl to remove her "squeaky" orthopedic shoes because they were bothering other customers, MyFoxPhilly reports.
Emma needs the shoes to learn how to walk because of a developmental disorder, and even after her mother explained this to the assistant manager, she was still asked to remove them.
The chain is now formally apologizing.
In a statement, Panera Bread said: “the last thing we would want to do is make anyone feel unwelcome.”
"I think this is something she (the employee) didn't quite know how to handle with having customers complain about it," said Emma's mother. "They want to help children with disabilities and this was just something that happened in their cafe and they are not proud of it."
Panera Bread now wants to throw a fundraiser to help the Dukes with Emma’s medical bills.