WICHITA FALLS, Texas - People are getting behind a Facebook-based boycott of Five Guys Burger & Fries not because they had a bad experience, but for the sake of 11-year-old Libby Brooks, a little girl who bravely faces Henoch-Schönlein Purpura, an immune disorder, every day.
The HSP requires Libby to wear a filter mask when away from home. Recently her big sister took her to eat at Five Guys, a real treat for a kid who spends a lot of time at home or dealing with medical issues. Currently she's not able to attend school or play sports.
As they entered, one of the counter guys threw his hands up in a big X and told Libby she couldn't come in because she was sick. After her sister explained the mask was for Libby's protection, he continued to joke about it even after a shift manager repeatedly asked him stop.
When her mom later talked to the manager, he said the employee meant no harm, it was a joke and they'd make it up to Libby with a free hot dog.
As hard as it is to believe anyone could be so crass as to humiliate a child with a medical condition, it's even tougher to think that a company like Five Guys has not trained employees about appropriate treatment of disabled customers. And train managers to be assertive enough to tell the counter jerk to stop, not ask, then send him home.
Most of us would say fire both involved parties. Libby, who has the kind of Zen only a child facing such challenges, doesn't want anyone at Five Guys to get fired. She would like an apology and for the restaurant to host a fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network, which has helped her through some pretty tough times.
A late Facebook post indicates Five Guys corporate office has been in touch with the Brooks family and set up a meeting. Libby's mom is strongly discouraging sympathizers from going to Five Guys and losing their cool.
Hopefully important lessons will be learned from this and everyone will be reminded to think before they do something only they see as funny. If cooler heads prevail, Crave believes it will be more meaningful than a free hotdog.