In a Facebook post on 14 June, Ms Si Ti related how staff at a MacDonald’s in Toa Payoh had allegedly ridiculed an elderly woman whom Ms Si Ti was buying a meal for.
The incident apparently occurred in the evening when the elderly woman, who had a hunched back, approached Ms Si Ti and asked if the latter could buy her some chicken nuggets and a hot milo drink from MacDonald’s.
“So I brought her into the restaurant to place an order for her food,” Ms Si Ti wrote. “I was appalled when the counter staff started shouting at and mocking the old lady for not having money to pay for her own meal.”
Ms Si Ti described what the staff said to the old woman:
“We were at the back of the queue, when the counter staff shouted, ‘Eh Auntie ah! You want nuggets and milo? Your pocket got $5 or not? Don't have right! No money right? No money so you cannot buy! Cannot buy so you go out now! Cannot come in here!!’ And there I was, thinking if I should just throw my $10 at her face to shut her up.”
Apparently, as Ms Si Ti later gathered, this was not the first time the elderly woman had asked others to buy her meals.
“The staff kept screaming and threatened to call the police to chase her away,” Ms Si Ti said. “She blatantly announced that this old lady comes to the restaurant regularly and would ask strangers to buy her a meal. The staff even told me off for wanting to pay for the meal, saying that by doing so, I was encouraging this old lady to keep returning.”
When Ms Si Ti tried to place her order, the staff at the counter refused to accept it, she said.
“When I insisted, she refused to take the old lady's orders and would proceed only when I personally made the order. This old lady was simply a nuisance to her.”
According to Ms Si Ti, even the male staff who packed her order, whom she believed was the manager, scorned at the old lady.
“I could barely stand his sarcasm each time he spoke to the old lady,” Ms Si Ti said.
The incident has left Ms Si Ti fuming mad, and she has some strong words for the restaurant and the staff.
“She was in the restaurant with me, and I was a paying customer. So why was she discriminated against? And why can't I pay for her meal? It's my money and I can spend it in whatever way I please. The old lady never forced me to buy her a meal. Instead she asked politely and I gladly obliged. And this meal purchase contributes to Macdonald's daily proceeds and eventually into the bank accounts of these two seemingly heartless employees.”
She added: “Clearly, they handled the situation in poor taste. Because to humiliate someone over her inability to pay for her meal is downright cruel. My parents have long taught me to have compassion for the old and needy.”
Ms Si Ti said she intends to notify MacDonald’s of the incident and the behaviour of its staff.
“Macdonalds should have been proud that this old ah ma still love to eat their nuggets even at that age,” Ms S Ti said. “Instead they turned her away like some rubbish.”
MacDonald's, in the meantime, has responded to the alleged incident by saying that it is looking into the matter, after several members of the public posted on its Facebook page asking for an explanation. (See here.)
*Note: The Online Citizen (TOC) has emailed MacDonald's about the alleged incident and we will publish the restaurant's response when we receive it.