So a news article hit Facebook this morning about a man with Down syndrome who was going out to dinner with his family and wanted to order fish sticks to eat. The problem is that they only have fish sticks on the kids menu (which states it's for children 12 and under) and this man, Willie Forbes, is 47 years old. Therefore, the hotel refused to serve him the food. After speaking with the manager and still being denied, the family ended up going to a restaurant next door where Willie was able to choose whatever meal, from whatever menu, he wanted.
So there are two sides of this going around the Down syndrome circles on Facebook (as there usually are!). One side is saying that it's JUST food. He just wanted fish sticks. How hard would it have been to give him a kid's meal (despite his age) and bend the rules a little bit? As we know, many people with Down syndrome have sensory disorder, food restrictions, and can be picky eaters so for the love of God, just let him eat what he wants to eat! It's discrimination because he has Down syndrome! It's said that a Facebook page was even started in support of Willie in outrage of the situation, though I couldn't find it.
On the other side, there are parents saying that we expect other people to treat our kids with Down syndrome just like everyone else. We want equal treatment. We cry for inclusion and fairness. So then, how is it fair if this restaurant makes an exception for Willie by breaking their rules and allowing him to order off the kid's menu just because he has a disability?? If we expect others to treat our kids with Down syndrome like everyone else, shouldn't we then expect them to live to the same standards and abide by the same rules as everyone else? If a typical 47 year old man wouldn't be allowed to order from the kid's menu, then Willie shouldn't be allowed to either.
So what do you all think? Was Willie discriminated against or was the fact that he is 47 years old enough to keep him from ordering off the kid's menu? Would you leave the restaurant with your family member or encourage him/her to order something else? Having a VERY picky eater in my house (who does not have Down syndrome), I will post later what I would have done in this situation... but I'm curious to hear what you all think first. ;)