PRIOR LAKE, Minn. (KMSP) - At just four-and-a-half feet tall, Nathan Hrdlicka, from Apple Valley, Minn., is used to getting stares and odd comments because of his height. He has bilateral PFFD, a rare birth defect that affects the pelvis, particularly the hip bone, and the proximal femur.
But he said he definitely wasn't treated like royalty during a recent visit on Monday to the Burger King in Prior Lake, Minn.
Hrdlicka said he took his wheelchair through the drive thru because it was too wide to fit through their door. He then argued with employees over how much change he got back for the second day in a row.
When he got home, he noticed one of the employees had written "golden ticket to the choclate factory,” misspelled, on the wrapper for his cheeseburger -- an apparent reference to the miniature “oompa loompa” characters from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
"I've seen a lot,” Hrdlicka said. “I've never in my life had someone disrespect me like that at a place where I was just buying a burger."
Adding insult to injury, Hrdlicka said when he and a friend complained to the manager and then police, both blew them off.
"I'm pretty offended by it,” he said. “I kind of thought people were past that on a professional level."
But after Fox 9 started asking questions, an officer showed up to the restaurant and now says the incident is under investigation.
"If it was about race or sexuality or something like that, it would have been dealt with and it would be all over the news,” Hrdlicka said. “The next thing people talk about all over the country for the next two weeks. But because it’s a disability, that should be protected too."
Hrdlicka says all he wants is an apology and for someone to take responsibility for an act that wasn't their crowning achievement.
"I'm really disappointed something like this would happen in the country and time we live in,” he said.