Blind woman denied service at restaurant because of her service dog, cursed at by owner

Blind woman denied service at restaurant because of her service dog, cursed at by owner

A service dog can be a lifesaver for people with disabilities, especially people who are blind. These smart dogs are specially trained to help vision-impaired people navigate the world.

But not everybody understands that, and sometimes blind people and their dogs are denied service or even met with hostility from employees.

Carlyn White, from Columbia, Mississippi, is legally blind and relies on a guide dog named Kuzco to get around.

Recently, she called a local restaurant to reserve a back table — and was told she couldn’t come in with her guide dog.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, public restaurants and most other establishments are not allowed to deny service animals from accompanying their owners, but the restaurant employees wouldn’t budge — and even became hostile.

Carlyn told WDAM that she explained to an employee that it was her service dog and it was illegal to deny him entry, but the employee became “immediately rude” and told her “No dogs, it doesn’t matter.”

She got on the line with the restaurant’s owner, who was even worse: “He goes, ‘Come get you a take-out plate and take your a– to the yard and eat with your dog.’”

Carlyn’s mother Melissa White shared her frustrations on Facebook, saying that the owner “cussed at me” and that they were reporting the incident.

While dogs can be asked to leave establishments if they are behaving badly, the family says Kuzco has never caused any issue.

“Her dog has been trained to get under tables during meals. You never even know he is there,” Melissa White wrote. She added that they ended up dining at a different restaurant instead.

Melissa said she only wanted an apology and does not want people boycotting the restaurant. She and Carlyn both just want people to learn from this story, to show more empathy for people with service animals, and for businesses to follow ADA compliance.


Even if the restaurant was ignorant of rules regarding service animals, they could’ve educated themselves instead of giving them a hard time.

“He could’ve muted the phone, searched on Google, and he would’ve got the answer immediately,” Carlyn told WDAM.

Sadly, it’s not the only case of a blind person being illegally denied service because of their service dog. Paul Castle, a popular TikTok personality who is blind, shared last month that he wasn’t allowed into a restaurant: an employee told him he didn’t “look blind” and was skeptical about his “emotional support dog.”

Paul said it wasn’t the first incident like this, and that he shared the story in the hopes of educating people.

“I’ve had Uber drivers just drive away as soon as they saw my dog. So, it all speaks to a bigger issue,” Paul told KIRO. “But it’s not about so much reprimanding people as educating them.”

Paul was later able to meet with the restaurant’s manager who offered to make amends; it’s not clear if Carlyn has received any apology from the restaurant.

It’s heartbreaking that anyone would deny service to a blind person and their service dog, but that’s the sad reality for some people with disabilities. We hope this family can get an apology and more people become understanding of service animals and ADA compliance.

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