Tiffiney Zinger, a mother of two whose family vacationed at the Orlando theme park back in March, told USA Today that she and her husband, Richard Zinger, noticed the offensive symbol when they returned home to Colorado and were looking through their vacation photos.
In the photo, the Zingers’ children, who are biracial, pose next to two characters from the Despicable Me franchise: a minion, and Gru. The Zingers’ daughter stands next to the Gru character, who has their right hand on her shoulder and is forming an upside-down “OK” sign with their fingers. Their two-year-old son stood in front of the minion character.
The upside-down “OK” sign is widely recognized as a symbol of hate and was added to the Anti-Defamation League’s “Hate on Display” hate symbol database in September.
“It’s more than the ‘OK’ sign,” Richard told the outlet. “A lot of people don’t understand what that sign means.”
“We just wanted to take them to see the minions. Do something special for our family and this person ruined that special warm feeling,” Tiffiney told USA Today.
The mother of two continued to tell the outlet that she has been “emotionally distraught” since the incident and that she’s “still pretty upset that someone felt they needed to do this to children.”
“It can cause emotional stress on my child and her development,” Tiffiney said. Her daughter, now seven but six in the photo, has autism, and Tiffiney said that this was her first exposure to racism.
A spokesman for the resort told the outlet that the actor in the photo “no longer works” at the park.
“We never want our guests to experience what this family did,” a Universal Orlando Resort spokesman told USA Today.
“This is not acceptable and we are sorry – and we are taking steps to make sure nothing like this happens again,” their statement continued. “We can’t discuss specifics about this incident, but we can confirm that the actor no longer works here. We remain in contact with the family and will work with them privately to make this right.”
Universal Orlando Resort did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.