London News & Search
A deaf man was thrown out of a branch of Gourmet Burger Kitchen in front of shocked customers because he had his hearing dog with him.
Louise DeNew was eating with her partner at the restaurant in Wimbledon, south-west London, on Saturday afternoon when she was confronted with the “horrible, horrible sight”.
She said she saw a middle-aged deaf man and his wife being kicked out by the manager of the branch, as outraged patrons looked on.
Ms DeNew added that although the small dog, believed to be a cocker spaniel, wore an assistance dog harness and had an ID card on its lead, the manager ordered them to leave.
She told the Standard: “They came in after us and had been seated in the corner with the dog pretty much hidden under the table.
“It wasn’t in anyone way and most customers in there wouldn’t have seen it.
“My partner and I were most upset by the fact that the gentleman seemed to have speech difficulties and wasn’t able to make himself understood.
“He was waving the dog’s lead with the Hearing Dog badge on it to show it was an assistance dog but the staff just ignored him.
“We felt that they used the gentleman’s disability against him really.
“It happened very quickly and the manager put his arms out and pretty much herded the chap out of the door.
“It was very upsetting to witness and we left soon after.
“My boyfriend did complain before we left, in fact he kicked off quite loudly that it shouldn’t happen in this day and age so I am fairly certain that other customers would have heard it too.”
She said she and her partner put in a formal complaint to the manager who “just shrugged and arrogantly stated it was GBK policy”.
Alasdair Murdoch, CEO Gourmet Burger Kitchen, said in a statement: “I was very disappointed to learn of the incident at the weekend that occurred in our Wimbledon restaurant.
“At GBK we firmly believe in equality and the treatment of these customers was unacceptable. This in no way reflects the values of the company and we are truly sorry for the upset that was caused. We have taken this matter very seriously.
“All our restaurants accept assistance dogs and we are taking immediate action to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
“We are reviewing all training and are re-communicating with all members of staff regarding our inclusive policy.
“In the meantime we have been in touch with the customer affected to apologise and have resolved the situation directly.
“Again, we would like to apologise sincerely if we have offended anyone through this matter.”
London News & Search