Katie ( last name removed) A Michaels store cashier called my son a “Retard” here is the story of what happened!
On Monday my husband, my son and myself all went to Michaels in Longview to get some supplies to make my son Elijah “eli” a pre-school bulletin board to have here at the house. My son who does have special needs… Eli has what is known as Sensory Processing Disorder and is also mildly autistic. While waiting in line Eli saw an Iron Man coloring book by the register. He asked if he could have it and when my husband told him “no” because we were going to get to Target next to buy him the movie “Cars 2” my son began to have a meltdown. Now I don’t know how many of you have seen or been around a child with special needs who has a full blown meltdown but they get very loud, very aggressive with hitting, kicking, biting and screaming… and it can last for literally hours if they get upset enough.
As soon as Eli started to get upset and started to scream my husband picked him up and quickly carried him towards the store doors and was taking him outside to help calm him down. We did not want to disturb the other customers or the employees and we wanted to quickly as possible calm our son. I stayed in line to pay for our purchases. As my husband was heading to the door the Cashier for Michaels whose name is “Colleen” looked at my son and then said quite loudly to the lady who she was currently ringing up “Can’t that retarded kid walk” and she nodded at my son. She said it loud enough that I heard her clear as a bell and I was behind 3 other ladies in her line.
When I got up to the register she smiled at me and asked how I was doing. I told her I needed to speak with a manager because the child she had just been rude about was my son. She looked at me and LAUGHED and said “oh I’m sorry bout that…are you washington or oregon resident?” and she started to ring up my purchases. She was NOT taking me seriously at all. I told her again I wanted a manager. She then paged Fern the store manager who told her that she was also on a register and it would be a minute. I told the cashier I would wait to speak with Fern. As I was signing my reciept Fern walked over to the register and before I could even say a word to her the cashier waved her away and indicated that everything had been taken care of. I again asked the cashier to re-page the manager.I was asked to wait right inside the doors of the store and that she would get her.
More than 10 minutes went by and I was still waiting. At that point another employee came over and asked if I needed any help. I told her I needed to speak with a manager because Colleen had just insulted my son. That employee paged Fern who then came up and spoke with me. I told Fern the entire story just as I have told you and I told her that the cashier had called my son a “retard” and that I expected something to be done about it. I was ASSURED and GUARANTEED that she would personally take care of it and that the employee would be disciplined. I left the store and went home. That was Monday. That night I also sent Corporate an e-mail explaining what had happened and as of 5 minutes ago I still HAVE NOT heard back from them about it.
On Wednesday I heard from a friend who was in the store that Colleen was working the register. I was very upset because I expected a woman who calls a child a retard to be fired. I called and spoke with Fern again. She told me that she had written Fern up and that was all she felt needed to be done. I asked for a corporate or a district managers phone number. After a few minutes of me asking I was NOT given a number but was personally guaranteed by Fern that the district manager would be in the store on Thursday and that she would have her call me and talk with me directly. So today (Thursday) I waited all day for a call from the district manager and I did not get one. At 3:00pm I called the store and again spoke with the manager Fern who informed me that the District manager HAD been in the store and had already left. Fern told me that the District Manager had not felt it was high enough on her priority list to call me directly and for Fern to deal with it herself. Fern then went on to tell me that she felt she had dealt with the situation in an acceptable matter by writing the employee up. I asked her what the write up consisted of and she told me that basically they scolded the employee told her not to be rude and had her sign a paper saying she had been spoken to about the matter. She was then allowed to go back to her register.
I had to threaten to call the news station today just to get a phone number for the district manager. Fern is also trying to say that her employee would NEVER call a child such a name and that I was just upset and not being rational and that she could not fire her employee without corporate approval however she did not feel her employee did anything that required being fired. She then began to argue with me saying I needed to let it go, be happy with how it was handled and basically that NOTHING was going to be done about it. Fern is now backing up her employee!! Before I hung up with her she did ask that I not make this a public manner because she did not want negative publicity for herself, the store employee or the store in general. YES she actually asked me to please keep what had happened quiet and NOT tell anyone.
I finally got a number for the district manager and I left her a voice mail. She did call me back and she said she would need at least several days because I was telling her a different story than she had heard from the store manager. The District manager also gave the impression that she was not concerned about the way my son was treated and she also tried to tell me the situation had been taken care of by giving the employee a verbal warning. I have been blown off by the store manager, district manager and Corporate.
The worst part about this is that my son was not all the way out of the store when the cashier called him the name and later that night Eli came up to me and asked me “Mommy why I a retard?” now I ask you all….how do I answer that? I have had several of my family call the store and they were also given the run around by the store manager Fern. Fern even went so far as to hang up on people who have called. I have called the news papers, the local news stations and all of them have told me the same thing. They can’t run a story on this because it is my word against the store employee. I am asking that everyone who feels this is wrong to please call the store manager Fern and let her know it is not ok to protect an employee who calls special needs children “retarded”.
My son is beautiful, he is amazing, he has his own special light that makes everyone who meets him fall in love with him! For him to be called something as horrible as “Retarded” is not right and I think the woman who said this should be fired!