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KFC Corp. says it's investigating allegations that a restaurant employee in Jackson, Mississippi, asked a 3-year-old to leave because her facial injuries disturbed other patrons. The company is also giving $30,000 toward Victoria Wilcher's medical bills, a spokesman said Sunday.
The allegation about KFC was made Thursday on "Victoria's Victories," a Facebook page following Victoria Wilcher's recovery from a pit bull attack in April. The administrator posted a photo showing Victoria smiling shyly in spite of her facial scars and cartoon-decorated eye patch, and wrote, "Does this look scary to you? Last week at KFC in Jackson MS this precious face was asked to leave because her face scared the other diners."
KFC posted an apology the next morning, requesting details.
"As soon as we were notified of this report on Friday, we immediately began an investigation, as this kind of hurtful and disrespectful action would not be tolerated by KFC," spokesman Rick Maynard wrote Sunday in an email to The Associated Press. "Regardless of the outcome of our investigation, we have apologized to Victoria's family and are committed to assisting them. The company is making a $30,000 donation to assist with her medical bills. The entire KFC family is behind Victoria."
Her grandmother Kelly Mullins said Victoria had just been to a doctor's when they stopped at the restaurant. She ordered mashed potatoes for Victoria because she thought the hungry child could swallow the soft food without chewing.
She says she was then approached by an employee. "They just told us, they said, 'We have to ask you to leave because her face is disrupting our customers,'" she told WAPT-TV (http://bit.ly/1p7ByYo).
Victoria wept all the way home and now is embarrassed by her appearance — something that wasn't the case before, Mullins said.
"She won't even look in the mirror anymore," Mullins said. "When we go to a store, she doesn't even want to get out" of the car.
Victoria was attacked by pit bulls at her grandfather's home. The dogs broke her nose, both jaws, cheekbones and right eye socket; the right side of her face is paralyzed and she lost that eye, according to her Facebook site. Her bottom jaw was reconstructed but she needs a feeding tube and must grow more bone in her face before more surgery is possible, it states.
The page's administrator wrote Sunday that "Victoria's Victories" had gone from 250 people praying for Victoria to thousands.
The page had more than 32,500 "likes" on Sunday.
- Associated Press