A soldier who served more than three decades in the U.S. Army and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was denied service at a restaurant for having a service dog.
CBS Chicago reported that Maj. Diggs Brown, who served in Afghanistan and returned home with PTSD, attempted to eat breakfast with his service dog Arthur at Cochon Volant during a weekend in Chicago, Illinois. He was asked to leave.
"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 recalled. "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. I said it’s my service dog and she said I don’t care, you need to leave, we don’t have dogs in the restaurant. I could go to the Department of Justice with this if we continue down this path."
Embarrassed, Brown returned to his home in Fort Collins, Colorado, and posted to his Facebook account on Sept. 12 that he and Arthur, his service dog of two-and-a-half years, had been "kicked to the curb."
"I posted to my Facebook page, this is what happened to me and it went viral," Brown explained. "The manager of the restaurant then called me personally and then emailed me apologizing."
The restaurant followed with its own post to Facebook, apologizing for the "unfortunate situation" and deeming it "not a true representation of our company policy." The restaurant claimed to be conducting an internal review and said it would make donations to Puppies Behind Bars and Colorado Disabled Veterans.
Brown credited the restaurant for its response.
"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," the soldier explained.
"They’ve stepped up to the plate and they are going to make some changes at the restaurant so I’m happy in my mind that it is resolved," Brown added.
As for Hannah, the restaurant worker who refused to serve him, Brown said he hopes that she would not be fired for not understanding the law.
"She just needed to be educated. That’s the restaurant’s discretion," Brown said.
Brown said that the incident represented the first time he was denied service because of Arthur, whom he credits with saving his life.
"He does a lot of things. He wakes me up from nightmares when I have them. When I have anxiety attacks, he calms me down. He saved my life and I’m even off the drugs," Brown said.