Panera Bread is known as a family-friendly restaurant, but a mom who recently visited a Panera with her toddler didn’t feel welcomed at all and ended up leaving in tears.
Emma suffers from an undiagnosed illness that has contributed to developmental delays, including the inability to walk.
Emma’s father, Stephen Duke, says her orthopedist recommended special shoes to give her better ankle support, and the shoes squeak when she walks heel to toe to let her know she’s walking properly.
Apparently, a customer could not tolerate the squeaking and complained, and this prompted a Panera employee to give Mrs. Duke two options: take Emma’s shoes off or leave the restaurant. They left.
The family was shocked and told Good Morning America that the restaurant was well aware of Emma’s condition and specialty shoes because they frequent the Panera quite often.
The Duke family met with members from the corporate office and was issued an immense apology.
The representatives also pledged to hold a fundraiser for the Dukes in the coming weeks where 50 percent of the restaurant's proceeds that night will be given to the family to help with Emma's numerous medical bills.
Although seemingly a nice gesture, Emma’s father Stephen says he probably won't return to the restaurant.