'Better off dead': Dad's outrage over Aldi workers alleged comment

'Better off dead': Aldi cashier

A cashier at a Brisbane Aldi store tells a mother her 12-year-old son who has cerebral palsy would be "better off dead". Nine News

A father of a 12-year-old boy who has cerebral palsy has expressed his outrage with Aldi after a checkout operator told his wife, "Children like that are better off dead." 

After complaining to management but becoming more frustrated with every response, Queensland dad Howard Duggan took to social media, sharing his wife's experience in a public Facebook group titled Aldi, My Son Is Not Better Off Dead, which he created yesterday.  

The group has already gained over 1000 members.

Andrew with his mum, Renee.
Andrew with his mum, Renee. Photo: Facebook/Howard Duggan

"Last week a checkout operator in an Aldi store looked at my beautiful son Andrew ... and told him and my wife 'children like that are better off dead'! What management did next made it worse. Much worse," he wrote.

Mrs Duggan said she had been "stunned" by what the checkout worker, at the Aldi Oxley store in Queensland, had said over the Easter long weekend.

After Mrs Duggan defended her son, the Aldi worker reportedly revealed that she had had a baby who was born early but died, adding: "it's better that way".

Mrs Duggan paid her money and left.

Playing the scenario over in her head, the mother of two decided to go back into the store and speak with the manager.


Mrs Duggan explained what had happened to the trainee manager, who said his "manager had 'just left' and would be in touch" with her the Tuesday morning after Easter.

When the Duggans didn't hear anything they escalated their complaint. After "six strikes" the couple are still unsatisfied, so the dad has taken to social media.

Mr Duggan said in his post that his concern is not with punishing the employee, but with the way Aldi has handled his complaint

"As carers/parents of disability we understand some people aren't equipped to deal with (gross) disability," he wrote.

"I told him [the area manager] I understood large multinationals can't be held responsible for every utterance from every one of their workforce, but I judge companies critically if they fail to act quickly, with sensitivity, and in a socially responsible manner when presented with such issues."

Making it clear what he hopes to happen next, Mr Duggan said, "Aldi can make this better."

"I have two requests of them and I will relay them to Tom Daunt, CEO of Aldi Australia. Tom, please call me."

An Aldi Australia spokeswoman said the the incident is being taken "extremely seriously".

"We would like to apologise to the Duggan family for the delay in responding to this incident," she said. 

"Unfortunately the holiday period impacted on our responsiveness and we are reviewing procedures to ensure this doesn't happen again.

"Our regional area manager has since been in contact with the family on a number of occasions."

Essential Kids have reached out to Mr Duggan for comment, we are still waiting for a reply.