It’s a technique he learned in therapy because William was born without arms. And he very capably uses his feet to feed himself.
“That’s all he knows,” William’s mother, Alexis Bancroft, told the local station KARK.
After the manager approached the table, the family left the restaurant.
IHOP has since apologized, saying the company and its franchisees do not tolerate “discrimination of any type.” In a statement, IHOP president Darren Rebelez said the franchisee at the Hot Springs location had been in touch with the Bancroft family to apologize.
“Additionally, the franchisee will also retrain his team members to ensure IHOP’s level of service, particularly regarding guests with disabilities, is provided to all,” Rebelez said in a statement.
An IHOP spokesperson told The Post that the manager is currently on leave.
KARK showed a video of William, curly haired and smiling, helping his mom assemble his favorite snack of punch and sandwich cookies. He pulls a bottle from the refrigerator by tucking a handle under his chin and feeds himself and his mom cookies by gripping them between his feet.
Alexis Bancroft told KARK that the incident at IHOP was the first time her son had been discriminated against in a restaurant because of how he has to eat. Bancroft told the station that when her family got to the IHOP, she took William into the bathroom to wash his feet.
“And I asked [the manager] do you ask all your customers if they wash their hands before they touch them?” Alexis Bancroft told KARK.
Bancroft declined to comment when reached by The Post.
Alexis Bancroft wrote on a now-deleted Facebook post that she and her family left the restaurant without paying for their drinks. Soon after, employees and the manager messaged her to apologize.
“I just wanted to tell you how deeply ashamed I am of what happened to your child today,” wrote one worker at the restaurant. “Me and a few other servers were completely SHOCKED that our manager did that.”
The manager also sent a message saying the interaction was all a misunderstanding.
“I would never do that to your son intentionally or otherwise. That’s not what I was trying to do,” she wrote.
Bancroft said that apologies from the restaurant workers and the franchise weren’t enough to comfort her son. The next day, she said William didn’t want to sit on top of the table and eat but instead wanted to sit in a chair even though he is not able to eat there.
“That is my child, and I’m his advocate,” Alexis Bancroft told KARK. “And you’re not going to treat my kid like that.”