The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf said Wednesday it apologized to the family of a child with special needs, who claimed to have suffered discrimination in one of their Cebu City branches. Video of the incident has gone viral.
The coffee chain said it was working to "enhance our ability to respond to situations like this with better awareness and empathy," referring to the viral post.
The author of the post, a woman, said on Facebook that a man threatened her brother, a child with special needs while the boy was playing with his drink and a towel. To defuse the tension, the boy's family was asked to transfer tables and the woman said they got no apology from staff.
The Autism Society Philippines said Coffee Bean Management could have handled the incident better, especially since the man was concerned over the observance of COVID health protocols.
"Our team has reached out and apologized to (the boy's) parents shortly after we found out about what happened, and we have given them our commitment in doing our part in making our stores a more inclusive and welcoming place for their family once again," The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Philippines said in an e-mail to reportr.
The Jollibee-owned chain said it was "deeply disturbed and sorry for the disheartening incident that occurred in one of our stores in Cebu. We would like to assure the community that we are currently taking this time to enhance our ability to respond to situations like this with better awareness and empathy."
The Cebu City incident came just weeks after a mother complained of ill treatment of her son with autism at the posh Plantation Bay resort in Mactan Island. The Autism Society Philippines, an advocate group, appealed for kindness "beyond being civil" towards those with special needs.