Five staff members at a Norway McDonald’s forced a blind customer out of the establishment, reducing her to tears. Their reasoning? You can’t bring an animal into a restaurant—even if it’s a guide dog.
Fredrikstad resident Tina Marie Asikainen wasn’t turned away immediately. The staff waited until she and her five-year-old daughter had ordered, settled in, and begun eating to ask them to leave.
Some would argue that people deserve to be able to eat their food in peace, untarnished by the dander/bad juju/mere presence of an animal. And that may be a reasonable request—except in situations where the animal is the trained and necessary companion of a person who would otherwise be unable to access the store’s services.
Turning away a person with a guide dog is not that different from exiling a person in a wheelchair because they take up too much of your floor space. The shallow comforts of the masses are not worth the basic rights of the minority.
Likewise, it should come as no surprise that Norwegian law expressly forbids discrimination against or denial of service to a disabled person accompanied by a guide dog.
But not only did the staff in question insist Asikainen leave the premises, they did so loudly and rudely.
One could go as far as to say that they barked at the poor woman.
Asikainen’s dog, Rex, meanwhile, remained the picture of obedience and good behavior.
We won’t say that guide dogs are superior to the average human, but we won’t not say it either.