An upsetting video currently making rounds on the internet shows a disabled man crawling out of a retail store on his knees after an employee allegedly refused to let him use a store-provided electric wheelchair to reach his car in the parking lot.
The incident occurred at Mills Fleet Farm in Mason City, Iowa.
The man in the video, Shane Zahn, took to social media to share his harrowing experience, explaining an employee met him in front of the store with a cart after Zahn, who has a partially amputated leg, was dropped off in the parking lot. However, on his way back, the store reportedly did not extend the same courtesy.
“Went to Fleet Farm today to do some shopping,” Zahn wrote on Facebook. “Paid for all my items and went to leave, was told I couldn't use the wheelchair to go to the car. Returned all my items and had to walk out on my hands and knees. Just trying to make people aware of how Fleet Farm treats handicapped customers.”
He also told KIMT he usually brought his manual wheelchair everywhere with him except for places like Mills Fleet Farm, which offers its disabled patrons an electric one. Zahn said he asked his son to film the entire thing as “proof of what happened.”
So far, the video has garnered more than 33,000 reactions and 100,000 shares.
“This isn't right nor it will never be right why couldn't they let him use the wheel chair if that was one of my family members he would use the wheel chair to get out and I'll tell them to call the law and explain this to them,” commented a Facebook user.
Another wrote: “I'm from the U.K. and I think that's absolutely disgusting. I worked in retail for nearly 15 years and anyone who was disabled we helped them to collect their items and took them to their vehicle when they were ready to leave.”
However, not everyone on social media is supporting Zahn.
A number of people have accused him of being “overdramatic” or “staging the whole thing,” while several have pointed out his son, whose age is yet not clear, could have brought the car to the front of the store and assisted his father.
Meanwhile, Mills Fleet Farm CEO Wayne Sales issued an apology on behalf of his entire team.
“We are aware of an unfortunate incident at our Mason City, Iowa, Mills Fleet Farm store where a Mills team member wouldn’t allow a disabled person to use an electric cart in our parking lot,” read the statement. “While use of carts in the parking lot with the uneven terrain can pose a hazard, we feel that in this instance our team member made the wrong decision. We apologize to the customer and to everyone who may be affected.”
In a separate interview, Sales also called it a “bad judgment call.”
Zahn told local news station he hopes his ordeal would encourage the company to change its policies.
“Like I said, I hope that it never happens to anybody else,” he added. “I hope they change their policy; some of us can't help it. We can't help we've had problems in our lives.”