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Diner’s disgust at being turned away from restaurant with guide dog

todayOctober 21, 2021 5

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A blind woman has talked about the humiliation and anger she felt when she and her guide dog were turned away from a Lynn restaurant.

Siobhan Meade, 37, and her husband walked into the Taste of India hoping for a meal but were immediately told to leave by a waitress who said the dog was not allowed in.

The couple tried to explain that black labrador Marty was a guide dog and when the confrontation continued they filmed it and have posted it on Siobhan’s YouTube channel Blind Girl Vlogs.

Siobhan Meade and Marty (52471640)
Siobhan Meade and Marty (52471640)

The couple were in town after visiting a sick relative at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and wanted to find somewhere to eat before heading back to their home in Hertfordshire.

Siobhan said: “We just wanted a quiet meal and went into Taste of India. As we walked in a waitress said ‘dogs not allowed’.

“My husband was trying to explain that it was a guide dog and that I am blind but her attitude was terrible.

“Another customer came and tried to help and she still refused. A manager came through but that was four minutes in and by that time we were so humiliated that we left.

“It was the attitude more than the refusal which was so upsetting. We went to a Caribbean restaurant just down the street where we got a warm welcome and wonderful food.”

Siobhan said that her husband filmed the episode to show how they were treated and that people need to be educated and aware about the law and discrimination.

Siobhan said that she had read reports that the restaurant had apologised but “certainly not to me personally”.

Illish Rahman, the manager at Taste of India, said: “I apologise and it will not happen again. We were used to customers with dogs when everyone had to eat outside.

“The couple hadn’t booked and the member of staff didn’t see the guide dog at first.

“It was a misunderstanding and the member of staff has been made aware.”

Gill Southgate, who is the chairman of the Lynn branch of Guide Dogs, and a guide dog user, said she didn’t believe it was indicative of a broader problem in the town.

“I think perhaps they don’t understand what the rules are and that our guide dogs are a mobility aid and an extension of us.

“The only place you can be refused is if you’re in a clinical setting. Your dog wouldn’t be allowed in there but, in any restaurant or shop, you can’t be refused.”

“It is a concern. I’ve been refused. Sometimes we have to try to explain why we need the dog with us.”

Siobhan said that she has had Marty since 2019 and this is not the first time she has had problems with people not being aware of the law regarding guide dogs.

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