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Family With Disabled Infant Barred From Entering Restaurant

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It was due to the infant's medically necessary stroller.


A couple says a restaurant in Delaware refused to let their disabled infant son enter the sit-down restaurant due to his stroller, breaking the law in the process. According to the News Journal, Matt Brown and Hannah Reese were on vacation earlier this week with their daughter and infant son Colton who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy. Colton has a specialized stroller that "carries medical equipment Colton needs to breathe, cough, and take food through a stomach pump." The family went to dine at Nicola Pizza in Rehoboth Beach but Brown says the hostess "denied them seating."

The employee apparently cited the restaurant's rule "against patrons wheeling strollers into the large, busy dining room." Brown says that it is impossible to take Colton out of the stroller because it is essentially a "moving hospital bed." Brown claims that the restaurant also violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) by not seating his family. Colton's great-grandmother wrote about the incident on Facebook, which lead to quite a bit of backlash against Nicola Pizza online.

Brown said that Nick Caggiano Jr. — the vice president the restaurant company that owns the pizzeria — apologized for the incident over the phone and "said that he would better train the restaurant's front-door hosts." However, Caggiano Jr. apparently did not "encourage" Brown to come back and supposedly laughed when Brown "mentioned the mandates of the ADA."

Caggiano Jr. tells the paper that he regrets the situation: "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." The IJ Review notes that the restaurant Nicola Pizza mentioned on its Facebook situation that the company was "very saddened by the misunderstanding."

Other restaurants have also been accused of violating the Americans With Disabilities Act. In February, a woman sued P.F. Chang's over the prices of its gluten-free option. She believes that the surcharge on the gluten-free menu violates the ADA by forcing those who cannot eat gluten to pay more.

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