The family of a little girl who was reportedly asked to leave a KFC because her facial injuries were “disrupting” other diners say the fast food giant has offered to pay her medical bills.
Three-year-old Victoria Wilcher was in a Jackson, Mississippi branch of the diner when she was reportedly approached by staff after receiving complaints from other customers.
The little girl sustained massive facial injuries after she was attacked by pit bulls at her grandmother’s house in April.
Victoria was still being fed via a tube when she visited the restaurant last week.
A Facebook page was set up to highlight Victoria’s alleged treatment.
On Monday the page posted: "Although the family has not been personally told this, KFC has posted this on their Facebook page:
“Update: As soon as we learned of the report on Friday, we immediately began an investigation. This kind of hurtful and disrespectful action would not be tolerated by KFC. Regardless of the outcome of our investigation, we have apologised to Victoria’s family and are committed to assisting them.
“We are making a $30,000 donation to help with her medical bills. The entire KFC family is behind Victoria and her recovery.”
The news was also confirmed in an email seen by the Associated Press.
Of the incident in the restaurant, Victoria’s grandmother Kelly Mullins told WAPT-TV the family had stopped by after a doctor’s visit and she had ordered her granddaughter some mashed potatoes in the hope she would be able to swallow the soft food without chewing.
She claims they were then approached by an employee: “They just told us, they said ‘We have to ask you to leave because her face is disrupting our customers.”
Mullins says Victoria wept all the way home and is now embarrassed by her appearance.
“She won’t even look in the mirror anymore. When we go to a store, she doesn’t even want to get out (of the car).
"She's three-years-old and she's embarrassed about what she looks like. She's embarrassed and I hate it because she shouldn't be. It isn't her fault."
The attack on Victoria saw her nose broken, both jaws, cheekbones and right eye socket. The right side of her face is paralysed and she has lost that eye, according to her Facebook site.
Her bottom jaw is reconstructed but she needs a feeding tube and must grow more bone in her face before further surgery is possible.
Victoria’s story has touched many and Las Vegas plastic surgeon Frank Stile has offered to personally help. Dr Stile runs a non-profit foundation to serve the needs of children in crisis.
He wrote: “Growing up with the physical and emotional reminders of this traumatic event will be challenging. Because of this, I wish to offer my help to Victoria and her family. My Foundation will work out sponsorship to help defray the costs of her care. I am also offering you my professional services as a plastic surgeon to assist with any future procedures as she grows up.
“I know this will not erase the memories of the horrific experiences Victoria has had to endure, but we can at least hope to make her future care more pleasant while trying to restore her back to a beautiful well-adjusted little girl.”
Wishing you all the best, Victoria.