Kia Little, whose spinal fracture impacts her ability to walk, says she felt ‘mortified’ when workers at The Discovery pub started ‘making offensive comments’ about her
Image: Teeside Live)
A pub company has apologized to a disabled woman who says bar staff mocked her making her feel “intimidated” and “mortified”.
Kia Little, who has a spinal fracture that affects her ability to walk, claims laughing workers told her “you’re all over the place” when she popped into Middlesbrough’s The Discovery pub before catching the bus home.
Staff have “sincerely apologized” for the “misunderstanding” and for any distress caused, while venue owner Stonegate Group says it takes “all allegations very seriously”, Teesside Live reports.
But Kia, who also has ADHD and Asperger’s, says the damage has already been done – and wants to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.
The 44-year-old claims staff started “making offensive comments” when she walked into the venue on Monday afternoon.
“[They were] saying I was drunk, they were just laughing,” she said.
“My walking is terrible, I struggle to walk. They started to laugh and said ‘you are far too drunk, you are all wobbly, you’re all over the place’.
“I said ‘I’ve got a spinal injury’. There were four of them, all stood behind the bar. I felt really intimidated. I’d popped in to kill a few minutes before getting the bus home.”
Kia, from Boosbeck, says she’d ordered her drinks and “just walked out” after the “shocking” treatment she received.
“I was pretty disgusted,” she adds.
“I’m waiting for a serious operation, they’re accusing me of all sorts and making a joke out of it. I don’t think disability is a joke. I just didn’t expect to be treated like that, it’s not on.”
“I just felt mortified, it’s really upset me. Staff apologized in a message. They said they made a mistake, but that’s no help afterwards is it?” she added.
“I didn’t feel like the apology was very sincere. Even if I’d had a drink, they shouldn’t have been like that. It was like a massive joke to them. I wouldn’t go back if you paid me and I’ll be telling everyone I know.”
“I don’t want this to happen to another disabled person,” she continued.
“I also have ADHD Asperger’s so I want to make people aware of more hidden disabilities, which I think is also important.”
The pub messaged Kia admitting “on this occasion, it may have been an error of judgement”.
The message said: “We apologize for the misunderstanding and any distress this may have caused.”
A spokesperson for The Discovery said: “We have fully investigated the complaint and have sincerely apologized to the customer for any misunderstanding and for any offense that was caused. We take all allegations very seriously.”
A spokesperson for Cleveland Police confirmed the force had received a report of a hate crime and said “inquiries are ongoing.”