Man on mobility scooter denied service at Napier McDonald's drive-thru

The Napier McDonald's on Thackeray St (Google Maps)
The Napier McDonald's on Thackeray St (Google Maps)

A Napier man was left "pissed off" and embarrassed after McDonald's staff refused to serve him at the drive-thru while on a mobility scooter, but the company says it was a "misunderstanding".

Wayne Sykes had some change left from his supermarket shop on Saturday afternoon, so decided to get a soft-serve icecream for his trip home.

Having previously been served at one of the restaurant giant's Gisborne drive-thrus on his mobility scooter, he didn't expect any problems at the Thackeray St store in Napier.

"The [intercom] you talk into wouldn't answer me, so I went around to the window where you pay," Mr Sykes told Newshub.

He says staff then told him they didn't serve people on mobility scooters.

"I said 'why?' There was no one in front of me, no one behind me. And they said 'we just don't do it.'"

A McDonald's spokesperson says the situation was the result of a miscommunication between staff.

The staff member working the drive-thru had asked the manager if they served people on scooters.

"The manager who was on thought they meant it was someone on a push scooter, which obviously wouldn't be safe, so they said 'no, we can't serve you'," the spokesperson says.

The manager then went outside to try and find Mr Sykes to tell him they'd serve him, but he'd already left.

"All I wanted was a bloody ice cream to enjoy on the way home."

Mr Sykes later phoned the store and received an apology and an explanation from the manager.

The Napier store doesn't have automatic doors like some other McDonald's restaurants, so those in wheelchairs or mobility scooters need assistance to get inside.

Mr Sykes said someone did open the door for him following his drive-thru experience, but he just wanted to leave.

"I was a bit dumbfounded, to be quite honest."

The McDonald's spokesperson says there are some rules around who could be served at drive-thrus, but "normally it's just common sense applied when it's something like that, where for a person maybe that's the easiest way. But we'd always be conscious of their safety just to make sure they're okay."

Mr Sykes says he won't go back to that McDonald's again.

"I'm going to Burger King and see what Burger King does.

"I'm sure they'll serve me."