Sunday, February 9, 2014

Starbucks Employee Embarrassed Man with Service Dog

The headline says "Amputee veteran turned away by Starbucks employees who wouldn't let his service dog in store," but if you read the article, he wasn't turned away at all.

A Starbucks employee told him dogs weren't allowed.  He said his dog was a service dog.  The employee said, "You're not blind," which is a fairly stupid thing to say, but people say it.  I was asked by an employee at Jiffy Lube if I was blind.  Yes, I drove my car up, got out of the car with my service dog, sat there until he was done changing my oil, paid for the oil change and signed the credit card slip, and then, as I was preparing to get back into my car, he asked if I was blind.  I laughed and pointed out that if someone drives to Jiffy Lube, they probably can see OK.

Anyway.  The Starbucks employee then asked what the dog was trained to do.  Employees are allowed to ask that.  The U.S. Department of Justice says so.  It is not a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act to ask that.

The man with the service dog answered the question and then the employee asked him why he can't do those things for himself.  That is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The employee should not have asked that.  He was wrong.

However, the disabled man was not required to answer the question in order to enter the store and make his purchase.  He was not turned away, either.  Another employee stepped in, told the first employee to stop asking questions, and told the disabled man he could bring his service dog into the store.  Problem solved.

But the man with the service dog was embarrassed.  Well, I can understand that.  But there is no law prohibiting employees from embarrassing customers, whether or not the customers have service dogs or disabilities.  There is no law preventing employees from being rude, either.  

So the problem was resolved on the spot and the man with the service dog was not denied access.  But he was embarrassed, so he made a big stink and involved the  media.  Starbucks issued an apology but he says he'll never go there again because the employee embarrassed him.  Well, OK.  He certainly doesn't have to go there if he doesn't want to.  But I find it objectionable that he's stirring up the media and they are printing headlines saying he was turned away when he wasn't.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you 100%. I tire of miking the "vet" end of it as well.