While no one can claim that Kentucky Fried Chicken is a healthy food option, it is, however, a craving for some. But in the case of one man and his gypsy horse – drawn carriage, it was a craving that will remain unsatiated.
When Ian Bell and his pony Jon Jon drove up to the KFC drive-through in the town of Carlisle in northwest England, they were swiftly given the boot. Bell, who is part of the Traveler or Gypsy Roma community, was told that the chain would not serve him. The restaurant, like every other eaterie in the country, is closed except for drive-through and delivery orders due to the pandemic, so Bell had no choice but to guide Jon Jon through the space normally reserved for horse power of a different variety.
Bell claims discrimination, telling the BBC, “I felt humiliated. To me, it’s downright disgusting the way we are treated at these kind of places. They should allow us through. We’re not going to cause any trouble. I’d like a big apology from them and I would like them to change their policies so Travelers and Gypsies can all come through.”
There are an estimated 300,000-plus Gypsy Roma and Travelers living in the UK and Ireland. They began arriving in England around the 16th century and have not been without controversy throughout history, facing ongoing conflict with locals over land use, and oppression and racial discrimination due to their origins and nomadic lifestyle. But in 2002 they were granted protection and recognition as an ethnic group under the Race Relations Act.
Here is an interesting video on the colourful history of the Gypsies:
KFC said in a statement to the BBC in response that, “it was ‘sorry for Ian and Jon Jon’s experience’ at the London Road restaurant on Tuesday, but added ‘the safety of our customers is really important. We can’t allow horse-drawn vehicles in our drive-thrus.’”
According to Bell, following his being turned away from KFC, he and Jon Jon drove to McDonald’s where they were served without incident.