UPDATE: Libby Brooks has met with Five Guys and is satisfied with the outcome. She released this statement on the Times Record News Facebook page:
I just want to thank everybody for their comments we had a meeting with the corporate office today and Five Guys publicly apologize to libby and promise to work with her and her cause.
We can't punish the restaurant for what one employee did.
And ultimately libby is the one that is happy with their apology and his acceptance of them to work with her to support her cause and help raise money for her cause.
We would like to thank everybody for their enormous support in the situation and please keep everyone involved in your prayers!
Five Guys Director of Communications and Public Relations Molly B. Catalno earlier emailed with their side of the story and released the following statement:
We are so saddened to hear about the situation that occurred at our Wichita Falls, TX location. It is unacceptable for any employee to make any customer feel bad or embarrassed. We want to do all that we can to make this right.
The employee who interacted with Libby feels very badly about hurting her feelings and has apologized to Libby and her family. It was never the intent of the employee to cause any distress.
The owner and the store employee immediately apologized to the family and have been actively trying to get in touch with the family all day. The owner is in the process of talking to the family directly so that we can make sure they know how serious we are about rectifying this issue.
People got 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 HSP, 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 diasbled 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, it will be more meaningful than a free hotdog.