A Colorado war veteran, who served in the Army for 30 years and fought in Afghanistan, was left embarrassed when the manger of a local Chicago restaurant asked him to leave the eatery because of his service dog.
Maj. Diggs Brown (ret.) and his service dog Arthur have been together for more than two years. The soldier suffered from post traumatic stress disorder when he returned from the war, with nightmares and anxiety attacks, and was prescribed drugs to calm down. Fortunately, it all changed when Brown took in Arthur as a companion.
“He does a lot of things. He wakes me up from nightmares when I have them,” the vet told CBS. “When I have anxiety attacks, he calms me down. He saved my life and I’m even off the drugs.”
However, when the duo was in Chicago for the weekend and went to breakfast at Cochon Volant, they were met with an unexpected – and undignified – response.
“When my service dog and I walked in, the hostess took us to the table, and the young lady named Hannah, she said you can’t have a dog in the restaurant,” Brown explained. “I kept my cool and I said you know it’s the American Disabilities Act. This is my service dog, he can go wherever I go, it’s the law. So I was seated, placed my order then Hannah came over again and said I have to leave.”
Even after Brown told the employee that Arthur was his service dog, she continued to insist that dogs were not allowed in the restaurant and asked the veteran to leave, which he obeyed and left the restaurant feeling “a little humiliated.”
Brown made his way to the airport to catch his flight to Fort Collins, Colorado, where he immediately posted details of the incident on his Facebook page. The post also featured a heartbreaking picture of Arthur sitting outside the restaurant entrance, which unsurprisingly went viral.
People soon began to post negative reviews for the restaurant, leading the manager to email and personally call Brown to apologize.
The restaurant even posted an explanation on their Facebook page.
The owners said that this wasn’t a true representation of the company policy and claimed that they have begun an internal review of protocol, training of staff and ADA regulations. Furthermore, they are also making donations to Puppies Behind Bars, which trained Arthur.
Although it was the first time Brown went through something like this, he claims he holds no hard feelings against the restaurant or the employee who asked him to leave now that they have stepped up and apologized for their behavior.
“It’s not my intent to destroy a restaurant but it is my intent to make them aware that they have violated a law that not only affects veterans with dogs, but other people with disabilities with service laws and that they need to be aware that it’s discrimination.”