JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - KFC Corp. says it's investigating allegations that an employee in Jackson, Mississippi, asked a 3-year-old to leave a restaurant because her facial injuries frightened other patrons. A spokesman says KFC is also giving $30,000 toward her medical bills.
The allegation was made Thursday on "Victoria's Victories," a Facebook page following Victoria Wilcher's recovery from a pit bull attack in April. Photos show her facial scars and cartoon-decorated eye patch.
KFC posted an apology on the page, requesting details.
Spokesman Rick Maynard tells The Associated Press that the donation will be made regardless of what the investigation finds. He says KFC won't tolerate hurtful or disrespectful actions to guests.
The page's administrator wrote Sunday that "Victoria's Victories" had gone from 250 people praying for Victoria to thousands.
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Kelly Mullins says she was in disbelief when she and her granddaughter, 3-year-old Victoria Wilcher, were asked to leave a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Jackson last month. Victoria suffered the loss of her right eye, a broken jaw, broken ribs and several puncture wounds when she was attacked by three pit bulls in her grandfather's Simpson County home in April. She had just been released from the hospital, after spending a month there recovering. Restricted to only soft foods, Victoria's grandmother says she went to KFC to get her mashed potatoes and gravy, but what happened next caught them totally off guard. Mullins says, "I sat down at the table with her and started feeding her, and the lady came over and said that we'd have to leave...Victoria's face was disturbing the other customers." On hearing the news, Victoria's family took to Facebook with a post, which reads, "Does this face look scary to you?" The person who posted the message went on to say, "I will never step foot in another KFC." The KFC corporate offices did reach out to the family and responded to WJTV with a statement saying, "We take this very seriously, as we have zero tolerance for any kind of hurtful or disrespectful actions toward our guests. Our investigation is ongoing, but we have been in touch with the family and are committed to doing something appropriate for this beautiful little girl and her family. We will also work with the franchisee to take appropriate action at the restaurant once the specifics of the incident are determined." Here locally, Jackson KFC Franchise Vice President Mitch Hannon could not say if the KFC in question is one of his, but did comment saying, "Our company will not tolerate any disrespectful action towards our guests. We are investigating the issue to see the appropriate action that needs to be taken." Victoria's grandmother says she's happy that KFC has acknowledged and apologized for the incident, but says the experience has left little Victoria even more scarred than before. Mullins says, "She usually says hi to everybody, she was never shy. Now, she don't say anything to anybody. She'll say hi to kids, but other adults, she'll shy away from."