Disabled 10-year-old kicked out of Boston Market for not wearing mask

JENKINTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A Jenkintown woman expressed her anger and frustration after Boston Market employees called the police on her 10-year-old son with autism for not wearing a mask on Wednesday afternoon.

Colin Newman is non-verbal, has Down syndrome and sensory issues.

Nadina Newman said she was picking up dinner for her family at the Boston Market on Old York Road when her car broke down. Given the extreme temperatures, she said she wore a mask inside, her son did not.

"It was 91 degrees outside, Colin wasn't feeling well, we needed to go inside so Colin could cool off," said Newman. "So I asked her (the employee) if we could sit there for about 15 minutes until our ride came and she said 'I have to call the owner.'"

Newman said she tried to explain to employees that due to her son's disabilities, he cannot wear a mask. She alleges an employee called the store owner, who then said the pair still needed to leave because they were not following CDC guidelines.

Newman said she refused to leave, given that her car broke down and her son could not withstand the extreme heat.

"I found it shocking that the girl working at Boston Market didn't understand that and didn't have the proper training, the proper information and nor did she have common sense," said Newman.

Newman said the employee then called the police. According to Abington Police Deputy Chief Kelley Warner, police responded to a disturbance call at that location.

"I felt anxious, I felt nervous, I was really shocked that this is what I was dealing with," said Newman. "I felt sorry for my son that he was listening to this, that he was being treated this way."

When Abington Police officers responded, they assessed the situation and gave Newman and her son a ride home.

"The police arrived and were problem solvers and peacemakers," said Abington Deputy Chief Kelley Warner. "Officer McMenamin did his job and we couldn't be more proud."

Warner said no charges have been filed.

Newman said she wants to raise awareness that people who have disabilities are exempt from wearing masks. She said she hopes more people will have compassion for others during this difficult time.

After our report on Action News at 4pm, Boston Market sent a revised statement that reads:

"Boston Market strives to provide the best guest experience possible. Guest and employee health and safety is our top priority, and we sincerely apologize that the guest experience was not met while trying to maintain these safety standards. We are retraining our staff at this location to ensure a situation like this never happens again."
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