Kingsport paraplegic's viral video spurs firing at Domino's, free pizza

Rain Smith • May 29, 2018 at 3:12 PM

KINGSPORT — A paraplegic city man's Facebook claims about discrimination at a Domino's pizza have gone viral, while an official with the chain said an employee has since been fired and the customer is satisfied with his apology and food compensation.

"We went through some (store) footage. At no point did everyone laugh or make fun of him," said Brian Spiva, Domino's director of operations for Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. "They just weren't as courteous as they should have been."

Monday evening, Dustin Kaywood posted a tearful two minute video to Facebook. By early Tuesday afternoon, it had more than 600,000 views and 23,000 shares.

In the footage, he says that he is paralyzed from the waist down, but he’s able to operate a vehicle thanks to hand-operated driving sticks. On Memorial Day, he ordered pizza from Domino's on West Center Street and drove to the store by himself.

According to Kaywood's post, a delivery driver was in the parking lot and he asked the driver to retrieve his pizza. Kaywood claims the man "laughed" and asked how he was driving, then refused to go get his food. Kaywood says he dialed the store and another employee inside didn't believe he was paralyzed and also refused to bring out his order.

"That's discrimination," Kaywood says in the video while crying. "Why's everyone better than me just because I can't walk."

Attempts by the Times News to reach Kaywood were unsuccessful. But Spiva said he had spoken with Kaywood by phone, as did a manager following the incident on Monday.

"We don't offer curbside service, but I gave him my number to call beforehand so we can accommodate him," said Spiva, adding that Kaywood's next 10 orders are free.

He said that Kaywood was then "satisfied." He also reiterated that Kaywood was never "laughed at" and said the driver offered to go in and get his food. That employee told Kaywood it would be a minute because they had a delivery to make and Kaywood had yet to pay.

That associate has been suspended for a week, according to Spiva, because "we're serious about going above and beyond for our customers, and he didn't."

Spiva added that Kaywood had been to the store before and used the handicap ramp to enter. When he called inside Monday and reached a customer service representative, "it kind of blew up," said Spiva, and that employee hung up on Kaywood. That employee has since been terminated.

"They're trained to say, ‘I apologize, I can't help you, but let me get someone who can,” and then get a manager," said Spiva.


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