Shauna Rae is speaking out about the treatment she frequently receives at restaurants.
The 23-year-old TLC star, who has pituitary dwarfism, responded on TikTok to a fan’s question about receiving children’s menus and crayons when dining out despite being an adult.
“So, getting things like kids’ menus, kids’ cups, crayons at restaurants is common,” she admitted in a video also shared on her Instagram. “It’s less common, I’ve noticed, when I’m out with my friends — very common when I’m out with older sisters or my family in general.”
She continued: “I think it’s just the environment I’m around and the way I carry myself that sometimes affects it, but I also I think if they see you in a family environment, they see a short-statured person, they just immediately think ‘child’ but it happens all the time.”
The television personality recalled an experience while filming I Am Shauna Rae at a restaurant.
“It was just [stepfather] Mark [Schrankel] and I and the waiter had given me a kids’ menu, crayons [and] tried to give me a kids’ cup,” she recalled. “And I was just kind of like, ‘Yeah, this is fine.’ Like, Mark and I will color, will play the dot game or whatever it’s called, we’ll play connect the dots, will just play tic-tac-toe and stuff.”
However, the experience took a turn when it was time to pay for the meal.
“I think it got to a point where it was just like, a little weird because I don’t know anyone that does this with children in general, but the person at the register, the cashier, told me I was doing such a good job and was very surprised I was gonna pay,” she recalled. “Then when I went to take care of the credit card part of it, she taught me how to use the credit card machine and I mean, simply explain step-by-step, like you would to a 3-year-old and I just kind of let it slide.”
Shauna Rae revealed she didn’t speak up at the time because she didn’t want to tell the cashier that she was 22 and to “please stop talking to me like that.” She added, “I just don’t wanna cause a fuss so I continued getting through the machine [tutorial].”
Before leaving the restaurant, Shauna Rae revealed that her final exchange with the cashier was especially frustrating.
“I told her to have a good day and she’s like, ‘Yes, you too, but you know what’s great? When you get older, because now you know how to use a credit card machine, you can come work for us,'” she shared. “And I was like, ‘Oh Jesus, can I just please go? Please, please, please,’ because it makes me uncomfortable to be in those extreme situations.”
She noted that those moments are difficult because the people are “not gonna take the time to educate themselves about the situation. They’re literally doing a quick evaluation.”
Despite the trying experience, Shauna Rae doesn’t fault the cashier after working in hospitality industry herself.
“I was a barista, like, I know how to deal with kids when it comes to customer service,” she explained. “It is a different evaluation and it’s one that kinda sucks when you’re a pituitary dwarf or a shorter-statured human being because just a one glance-over, you’re supposed to be a child and then they talk to you like a child and it’s discrimination in the smallest form.”
In the caption of her post, Shauna Rae further explained the importance of raising awareness for pituitary dwarfism.
“This is something that happens to me very often, and use to be an every time I went out occurrence,” she wrote. “I’m hoping that by raising awareness for my type of dwarfism and disability, that it will help the world and us as humans be more open minded when it comes to the variety of people we have in our world.”
“Everyone deserves to be treated the same no matter their difference ❤️” she shared.
On her TLC series, Shauna Rae’s early 20s are captured — showing both the similarities and differences she faces when living life as a single adult with pituitary dwarfism. Her dating life, friendships and future career plans remain front and center as Shauna Rae navigates learning to drive and moving out of her parents’ house.
Shauna Rae had a form of cancer as a young child, which stunted the growth of her pituitary gland. It resulted in pituitary dwarfism, the condition that keeps Shauna Rae under 4 feet tall.