By Ralph Ellis and Joe Sutton
(CNN) — The outrage came hard and fast after a 3-year-old girl badly scarred and wearing an eye patch because of a pit bull attack was apparently asked to leave a KFC restaurant because her appearance upset other customers.
After social media users opened fire on the restaurant, calling for a boycott, the apology from the chain came quickly too.
The company said it will donate $30,000 to assist with the girl’s medical bills.
“The entire KFC family is behind Victoria,” company spokesman Rich Maynard said.
‘Her face is disrupting our customers’
Victoria Wilcher was mauled by three pit bulls a few months ago, causing her to need regular medical treatment. After a doctor’s visit last week, grandmother Kelly Mullins took the child to a KFC in Jackson, Mississippi.
“I ordered a large sweet tea and her some mashed potatoes and gravy because she was hungry,” Mullins told CNN affiliate WAPT.
“She was on a feeding tube at the time, but I figured she could just swallow (the potatoes). They just told us, they said, ‘We have to ask you to leave because her face is disrupting our customers.’ (Victoria) understood exactly what they said.”
Victoria cried all the way home, Mullins said.
“She’s got a lot of surgeries to go through and she won’t even look in the mirror anymore,” Mullins told WAPT. “When we go to a store, she doesn’t even want to get out (of the car). She’s 3 years old and she’s embarrassed about what she looks like. She’s embarrassed and I hate it because she shouldn’t be. It ain’t her fault.”
Victoria’s family recounted the incident in a Facebook page set up to raise money for her medical expenses.
“Does this face look scary to you?” the family posted on the Victoria’s Victories Facebook page. “I personally will never step foot in another KFC again and will be personally writing the CEO.”
The anger spread.
“As soon as we were notified of this report Friday, we immediately began an investigation, as this kind of hurtful and disrespectful action would not be tolerated by KFC,” the company said. “Regardless of the outcome of our investigation, we have apologized to Victoria’s family and are committed to assisting them.”
A horrible attack
Authorities said Victoria was attacked in April while visiting her grandfather, from whom Kelly Mullins is divorced.
One of the dogs ripped open the front door and two other dogs dragged her into the back yard, WAPT reported.
The dogs bit the girl all over, but especially on the face. She has severe facial scars and lost sight in her right eye and the ability to move the right side of her face, Mullins told WAPT. She wears an eye patch with a cartoon character on it.
The three dogs that attacked Victoria were killed. The grandfather, Donald Mullins, and his girlfriend were arrested on child endangerment charges, WAPT reported.
Meanwhile, the Facebook page got lots of attention, with almost 49,000 “likes” by early Monday morning.
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