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Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Took Customer Service Lessons From Delta Airlines

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation operates a historic venue with educational tours and programs. One of the educational tours includes the Shields Tavern where visitors can experience a recreation of life in the 17th Century. The establishment forced an 11-year-old boy to leave and wait outside in the rain while his classmates participated in the recreation. It appears they took customer service lessons from Delta Airlines and had a complete lack of common sense in handling the situation.

The child was asked to leave because he was gluten free and brought his own special meal to eat to avoid any health issues during the school field trip. The child and his family were trying to be responsible, understanding that not all public places offer food that meets his strict dietary restrictions and his condition was quite severe and could result in loss of consciousness and head injuries from falling, among other long-lasting health issues. Instead of understanding and accommodating the child, he was asked to leave and eat his food outside, in the rain, away from his classmates and the recreation event. The child was crying and humiliated and was unable to participate in the school field trip experience. The parents brought an ADA violation lawsuit against the Foundation.

Restaurants, bars, and craft breweries should take note of this case. With the growing awareness of dietary related conditions, this situation could present itself at any establishment. As long as the food is not shared with others, it should not violate any health codes. Be accommodating if you can reasonably do so in a given situation.