The family of a 3-year-old girl who was allegedly asked to leave a KFC restaurant because her facial scars were “upsetting” other customers has turned down a $30,000 donation offered by the fast-food chain.
In an earlier interview, KFC told Yahoo News it was committed to making the donation toward Victoria Wilcher’s recovery, even after two independent investigations concluded that the alleged incident never occurred.
However, a lawyer representing family members said they have decided to decline the donation.
“We just didn't feel right about accepting their money," the family’s attorney, Bill Kellum, said in an interview with the Clarion-Ledger. "But we did tell them they were more than welcome to donate the money to the Frank Stile Foundation."
Stile, a plastic surgeon, has agreed to pay for Wilcher’s surgery without charge. His foundation helps raise money to provide medical procedures and other services for children in need.
Another Florida surgeon has agreed to create a plastic eye for the young girl. Meanwhile, the crowdfunding site GoFundMe said it was close to releasing more than $100,000 in donations that have been raised for Wilcher’s recovery.
“The family is committed to having the money put in a discretionary trust account for Victoria with a third-party, non-family member designated as the trustee," Kellum told the Clarion-Ledger. "They want to make sure every cent goes toward Victoria getting better."
Wilcher was severely injured in April when several pit bulls belonging to her grandfather, Donald Mullins, attacked the girl.
After returning from the hospital, Wilcher’s grandmother said she took the young girl to a KFC in Jackson, Miss., to get mashed potatoes and sweet tea. However, Kelly Mullins claims employees at the restaurant asked her and her granddaughter to leave the establishment.
“They just told us, ‘We have to ask you to leave because her face is disrupting our customers,’" Mullins said in an interview at the time. "[Victoria] understood exactly what they said."
KFC immediately apologized to the family and said it would pay for two independent investigations into the alleged incident. It also pledged to donate $30,000 toward Victoria’s physical recovery, regardless of the outcome of those investigations.
According to KFC, the subsequent investigations cast doubt upon the grandmother’s claims. It said that the pair was not seen in any surveillance video taken at the store and that no orders were placed for the combination of mashed potatoes and sweet tea on the day the incident allegedly occurred.
Although Mullins has stood by her story, the family became the object of criticism after doubt was cast on her story.
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