A MOTHER is demanding better training for workers at a Worcester supermarket after a staff member “shouted” at her autistic son.
Kate Handley has refused offers of goodwill from Asda in St Martin’s Quarter after she said a cafe worker “laughed in her face” when she told him that her five-year-old was autistic.
Miss Handley, of Birch Avenue, Tolladine, was having lunch in the cafe on Monday December 9 with her three children – Calum, 12, Oliver, five, and Archie, 11 months – when she went to change her baby’s nappy.
While she was walking towards the bathroom, Oliver was following a few steps behind.
She said: “All I heard was somebody shouting and I turned round and saw my son had dropped a small piece of litter – a cookie wrapper out of Asda’s lunchbox range.
“And when I saw that he had done that I said I was sorry, and went to pick it up.
“The member of staff gritted his teeth and said Oli had just dropped it. I apologised again and he snatched it up and slammed it in the bin.”
After she had seated her children she went to speak to the member of staff.
She said she explained that Oliver was autistic and found it difficult in supermarkets and that she was not happy with how he spoke to her son.
“He just glared at me and said Oli was unsupervised and that he couldn’t have old people tripping on litter.
“I said I understood that but I apologised twice which he ignored, and then said he’s not naughty, he has a disability, and he laughed in my face.”
The store offered her a £5 goodwill voucher and Oliver his choice of toy but she refused and said she wanted a written apology and better training for staff so they could deal better with people who have disabilities.
A spokesman for Asda said the member of staff had to replace four meals for other people in the restaurant as the children were throwing food, and that although there was no CCTV in the cafe there was in the store itself and the children were seen unsupervised in the toy and DVD aisles.
He added: “We’d hate to upset anyone who visits our store. We’ve given Miss Handley a £5 gesture of goodwill and also offered her son a toy from the store. If she would like to get in touch with us again we’re more than happy to talk this through with her.”
Miss Handley denied that her children were throwing food and has written to the store management.