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Ruby Doolan, who has cerebral palsy, suffers from paralysis on her left side

This is a story about the devastation of a girl with Cerebral Palsy after Clarks shoe-shop worker told her mum she would ‘grow out of’ disability

The ‘giggling’ female employee allegedly told Ruby Doolan’s mum ‘everyone’ has cerebral palsy and her daughter will ‘grow out of it’

Ruby Doolan, who has cerebral palsy, suffers from paralysis on her left side

Ruby, a young girl with cerebral palsy has been left devastated after a Clarks employee allegedly told her mother she would ‘grow out of’ the condition.

She suffers from paralysis on her left side She visited the shop with her mum, Danielle Donaldson, in a bid to find shoes with a high instep.

But the pair left the store in shock after a ‘giggling’ worker apparently declared ‘everyone’ has cerebral palsy. Continuing to say that the eight-year-old will ‘grow out of it’.

Clarks in Redhill, Surrey

Now, Danielle, 28, says she will not go back to her local Clarks in Redhill, Surrey, after being left furious by the female employee’s comments.

The eight-year-old is pictured with her mum, Danielle Donaldson, at their Surrey home. She has cerebral palsyThe eight-year-old is pictured with her mum, Danielle Donaldson, at their Surrey home

She says the woman told her: “That cerebral palsy, everyone has it, don’t worry though, she will grow out of it,” in front of other customers.

The mum said: “The shop worker kind of giggled and walked away. I think she realized what she had said then and was quite uncomfortable at that point.

“Naturally I don’t expect everyone to know everything about cerebral palsy. I didn’t before I had my daughter. But at the same time I know how to talk to people. I just don’t think that it is how you talk to people.

“When we got out of the shop my daughter said ‘I didn’t think you could grow out of it’. I said ‘no you can’t grow out of it’.

“It’s a conversation I shouldn’t have to have with my daughter. I’m more angry now than before, I think that is because of the lack of resolution I got out of it as well.”

Account of the visit

Danielle, from Redhill, entered the store last Tuesday with her daughter.

Ruby visited the shop in a bid to find shoes with a high instep

Ruby and her mum were initially served by a member of staff who listened to Ruby’s requirements and retrieved several styles of shoes.

But a senior member of staff then allegedly interrupted the sale and made the ‘strange’ comments about Ruby’s condition.

The employee has since resigned from the store after management investigated the incident and found it to be a ‘miscommunication’.

They claim the worker misunderstood Ruby’s high instep. The arched part of the top of the foot between the toes and the ankle.

Apologies

Clarks has since apologized to the pair. But Danielle says it took the firm more than 24 hours to respond to her initial complaint and apologize.

She also claims an area manager told her she shouldn’t visit her local store because she will get better customer service in Dorking, Surrey – almost ten miles away.

They claim the worker misunderstood Ruby’s high instep, the arched part of the top of the foot between the toes and the ankle.

 

Danielle, 28, says she will not go back to her local Clarks after the incidentDanielle, 28, says she will not go back to her local Clarks after the incident

She said: “It was in front of a packed shop and it’s just really ignorant. It is really strange that she thinks it’s acceptable to say that I think.

“The gentleman was actually quite nice. He was very apologetic on the phone, he did say he would apologize to her.

“Because of the cerebral palsy I buy a lot of shoes from them. It’s really convenient for me to go in there because I live and work in Redhill.

“I feel like I can’t go back there anymore because of the situation. His answer to that was: ‘No I don’t think you should go back there. You should go to Dorking because you will get good customer service.’

“I just don’t see why I should have to go to a different store.”

Clarks reaction to the whole incident

A Clarks spokesperson said: “Clarks is disappointed to hear of Danielle Donaldson’s experience.

“Following the incident the member of staff involved has resigned from her position with immediate effect.

“After we investigated the incident as fully as possible, we found that it resulted from a miscommunication between the former staff member concerned and Danielle Donaldson regarding her daughter’s high instep requirements which children ordinarily grow out of, not cerebral palsy.

“We have offered our sincere apologies to both Danielle and her daughter. We are working hard to resolve this with them.

“Our staff are highly trained to serve our wide range of consumers and therefore it’s disappointing to hear of this instance.”

Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is a life-long condition which is caused by abnormal development or damage to the areas of the brain that control muscles.

Symptoms typically appear in early childhood and include muscle weakness, muscle stiffness, tremors and balance and co-ordination issues.

There is no cure for the affliction.

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