The Real Reason One Family Was Denied Service At An Ice Cream Shop

Correction 6/15/22: This story has been updated to note that the Fogarty family wore face masks pre-COVID, as they are immunocompromised.

There's something about the look on a child's face when you take them out for ice cream — it's often pure joy. As we enter the warmer months, trips to the ice cream shop become one of the best ways to spend time with friends and family.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led many to re-evaluate their actions when visiting public eateries. Some continue to wear masks and social distance since case numbers can rise unpredictably, for instance, as evidenced by the World Health Organization's Coronavirus Dashboard. Many shops and restaurants have changed their indoor dining policies and have widened their sanitization practices. 

However, different people have had different viewpoints on how the pandemic should be handled and what actions should be taken. Regionally, some areas of the United States have enforced much stricter rules than other parts. And for one Virginia family who took a trip to Tennessee, paying a visit to the ice cream parlor quickly became a nightmare when two different pandemic viewpoints collided.

One family was allegedly refused service at a Tennessee ice cream shop

Lauren Fogarty and her son, Andrew, were visiting Tennessee from Virginia, along with Lauren's fiancé, to check out the Titanic Museum. There, the family had an ice cream craving and headed to a local ice cream shop. Things went south, however, when the store owner allegedly refused service to Lauren, Andrew, and her fiancé after they would not take off their masks to order.

According to Today, all three were wearing masks because. As Lauren explained in a tweet, "We have [a] rare disease [sic], and are immune-compromised." As Today explains, the family wore face masks pre-COVID, as they are immunocompromised.

Lauren shared what happened to the three of them on Twitter, saying, "A grown adult man who owns an ice cream shop in Tennessee made my 10-year-old autistic son cry because he wouldn't sell us ice cream because we wouldn't take our masks off." Lauren then added the name of the shop in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, to the tweet. The tweet quickly went viral, with many people upset with Kountry Kreamery for allegedly refusing the family service.

Lauren Fogarty's son was emotional about the ice cream incident

The Fogarty family left the ice cream parlor without being served, and Lauren later revealed that her son was quite emotional about the encounter.

"He waited until we walked all the way to the car to be emotional, and for him that's a really mature response, but he cried so bad at the hotel," Lauren told Today. "It caused him trouble sleeping."

Twitter users replied to Lauren's tweet, with many rallying around her. One user even called out Hershey's Ice Cream, who responded to the incident by tweeting, "We are reviewing the accusations and our relationship, and would like to be clear that this customer is NOT an employee, franchisee or affiliate in any way of Hershey's Ice Cream."

Though many supported Lauren and her family, there were a few responses that suggested the ice cream owner has a right to refuse service. Today reports that the Fogarty family could have a lawsuit on their hands, though the incident is still ongoing.