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Mother and son vs. local restaurant

Updated: Friday, September 13 2013, 12:17 AM EDT


By Erica Mokay

"He was just simply talking…the manager of the Hibachi Buffet came over and told me that we had to be quiet." Glinda Platt recalls what happened during what she thought would be a regular lunch at the restaurant in Weirton Monday afternoon.

It soon turned into an outing Platt and her mentally disabled son, Georgie, will never forget.
"We continued eating for a while and then he come back over and said 'do you want your check need to leave,'" said Platt.

She said they were asked to leave because of the noises Georgie was making.

Platt admits she did get loud. She became very upset, but eventually she did do what she said the manager asked -- she took her son and left.
However, that's not where the situation ended. Some restaurant-goers who watched the whole thing happen became outraged and took their opinions to Facebook.
Those posts grew to an organized protest along Three Springs Drive Thursday morning, not far from the eatery.
"I want our city to say to these business owners, you cannot treat people this way. If you are going to do this, then you need to take your business elsewhere," said protester Julie Owens.
NEWS9 went to the buffet Thursday and spoke to manager John Li.
He refused to go on camera but he did give me his side.
Li said he didn't realize the man had a disability but he said he did think he was a safety risk to the other customers.
He went on to say, contrary to what Platt said, he never asked the pair to leave his restaurant.
"I just think there are some people you can't talk to," said Platt. "They'll never get it and they don't care and it doesn't matter to them. So, there's no sense. I will never go back."
NEWS9 did speak over the phone to a man who was at the restaurant and actually tried to intervene.
He said after the fact, the manager did come out and say he was sorry. However, Platt and her son had already left.
Again on Thursday, the manager told NEWS9 he would apologize to them if they came back.

To find out more about the legal side of this situation, NEWS9 consulted attorney Mike Nogay. He said, "Cases like these are very facts-specific. What we know for certain is that restaurants that are open to the public are subject to the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and that act requires restaurants to make reasonable accommodations to disabled people. If a person is disabled and they are not presenting a safety risk, a legitimate safety risk, to other persons, they must be accommodated and they cannot be refused service and that safety risk cannot be something that can be judged on stereotypes. It has to be an actual risk to the other patrons in the restaurant."

Platt said she does not plan to take legal action.

Mother and son vs. local restaurant

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