An elderly man has been turned away from McDonald’s because he didn’t have a smartphone able to scan the QR code for Covid-19 check-in.
UK woman Vicky Wakelam, 43, said she had wanted to treat her father Colin Wakelam, 65, to breakfast at McDonald’s in Cheltenham earlier this month – but that their morning was ruined and he was left upset after he was refused entry.
“Not everyone can afford a smartphone,” Ms Wakelam told Gloucestershire Live.
She told the website that her father had been going through a hard time and she had taken him out to order a pair of McMuffin meals to cheer him up. They were hoping to sit inside and enjoy some bonding time.
When they arrived, they were both asked to use their phones to scan the QR code to enter – but Mr Wakelam, who works as a night-time supermarket shelf stacker, doesn’t have a smartphone.
“To be turned away just because he didn’t have a phone to scan himself in there, he was quite upset,” the mother-of-five said.
“It was quite embarrassing. We were holding up the queue and my dad was trying use his phone to scan this thing but it’s such an old phone, it wouldn’t work.”
Ms Wakelam said the manager simply told her “it is what it is”.
“Not everybody can afford a smartphone or even use one,” she said. “I was taking him out to try to cheer him up and it was like a blow to him and it made him quite fed up. I just wanted to treat him.”
She still ordered them breakfast, and they went to a nearby bench to eat – but she says their outing was ruined.
“My elderly father had to sit on a bench and eat his breakfast,” she said.
“He enjoyed the meal but for the rest of the morning, it sort of put a dampener on things. I was annoyed. I was really angry because I just wanted to treat my dad. My dad was fed up because he knew I was angry as well and he wanted to enjoy his meal and not have to sit on a bench in the High Street, it was unpleasant.”
Ms Wakelam has vowed never to eat at the McDonald’s again.
The fast-food chain has apologised for the incident, saying the restaurant made a mistake.
“We are very sorry to hear about this customer’s experience and apologise for any upset this may have caused,” a spokesperson said.
“This was a genuine mistake made by our restaurant team who incorrectly interpreted our policy and did not offer to check the customer in using the restaurant’s tablet. The restaurant team have been reminded of the policy and procedures we have in place to ensure this is not something that happens again.”