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Family Says Son's Disability Caused Restaurant to Turn Them Away

In May, Matt Brown and Hannah Reese’s son Colton was diagnosed with a genetic disorder that prevents many of his muscles from moving. Since the diagnosis, the family had not gone out for dinner. Although, they did take a vacation to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

On Aug. 4, the family took Colton in his specially-equipped stroller to enjoy a family meal at Nicola Pizza. Although an employee allegedly denied their entry due to a no-stroller policy.

Brown told Delaware Online that his son's stroller, which lets him lay flat and contains medical equipment to help him breathe, is bulky. He said, “It looks like a moving hospital bed, basically." Nonetheless, Brown and Reese believe the denial of service was a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a law which prohibits businesses from discriminating against people on the basis of disability.

Colton’s great-grandmother, Susan Hamadock, wrote on Nicola Pizza's Facebook page that the denial of service was “cruel and unjustified.” Later, Brown called the restaurant to complain of the treatment. He shared that Nick Caggiano Jr., vice president of the restaurant company, apologized but laughed when Brown mentioned the ADA.

Brown said, “(Caggiano) said he was part right and part wrong. I was so worked up I didn’t want to argue with him ... He laughed about the ADA, as if he thought I wasn’t educated or something.”

Caggiano responded, “I’m putting all this on me, but we had the 17-year-old (hostess) make the decision. Nobody asked for the manager. I would have understood. I would have definitely let that person in here. What’s hurting me the worst is the perception we’re getting that we’re not friendly to handicapped people and we discriminate against the handicapped. That is so far-fetched it’s not even worth talking about. I know what it’s like to have someone close to you who can’t walk. I’ve dealt with it my whole life.”

Hamadock also wrote, “Rehoboth is supposed to be a town where all are welcome; But, obviously not this young family struggling with a life threatening condition of their 6 month old."

Photo: Delaware Online, HNGN

Family turned away because of child's disability.

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