A 50-year-old disabled woman had to be pushed up a road in Croydon by passers-by when the power for her mobility scooter ran out, not long after she was refused permission to charge it in a McDonald’s restaurant.
Deborah Molloy, from New Addington, drove in to the McDonald’s on Church Street in Croydon town centre because her mobility scooter was running low on power. Miss Molloy bought something to eat in order to be courteous rather than just going in to recharge her scooter.
She explained: “I barely made it through the shop doors because the battery was so flat, all of the lights that mean I am going to stop dead any minute now were flashing. I ordered some food to sit in and eat. I spoke to the supervisor and said ‘there’s something wrong with the scooter, the batteries are not holding. Can I just plug it in while I have something to eat? I was told no, unequivocally, absolutely not. He said ‘it’s not our policy to allow people to plug in scooters and phones’. I told him it’s not a phone, it’s a mobility scooter because I am disabled.”
Miss Molloy has a brace on one knee while her other leg is badly swollen. She also has a heart condition, blood disorder and chronic arthritis. She continued: “I understand if somebody just comes in to plug in their mobile phone or their tablet, that can be an issue, but this is a mobility scooter I’m not riding it because I’m too lazy to put my two feet on the floor, I’m riding it because I can’t walk very far. I can make it around the house, that’s it. I take 120 milligrams of morphine every day because of the pain that I’m in. Every time I put my foot down it’s like walking on huge shards of broken glass. I’m waiting for major surgery on my left knee.”
After not being allowed to charge up her mobility scooter, Deborah limped out the McDonalds restaurant on her mobility scooter before it spluttered to a standstill. She described her plight: “I managed to get most of the way back up the street but then it broke down. In order to get as far up the street as I did, I had to keep turning it off, sit there for a few minutes and let what little charge was left in the battery gather itself, turn it back on, go a couple of feet and turn it off again, until it just completely stopped dead.”
Miss Molloy said that McDonald’s’ decision made her feel degraded: “From the point of view of McDonald’s being a family orientated company, I was really disappointed. I told them I would not be able to make it home and asked if I could just charge it for five minutes. He [the supervisor] wasn’t having any of it. He completely dismissed me out of hand. They made me feel like I had left my house and deliberately gone to McDonald’s in order to rob their electricity supply. They absolutely refused point blank to let me charge my mobility scooter. I was made to feel like a second class citizen.”
A McDonald’s spokeswoman defended the company’s policy, explaining: “In the past we have facilitated this customer’s request and charged her scooter in our restaurant.
We are disappointed that this occasion, offered as goodwill, has not been recognised. On the last instance, the customer was informed that due to health and safety issues, we would no longer be able to honour future requests which was accepted. We are sorry to hear that we have caused upset in this instance.”
In earlier articles on this blog we have documented other incidents involving refusal to mobility scooter drivers for access through the McDonalds Drive Thru facility. Have you had any problems at McDonalds restaurants? If so, please tell us about it in the Reply Box below.