Sangeeta Uppaladinni visited the capital on her first long trip for more than a year after her sight worsened due to a genetic condition.
She was browsing in Historical London Souvenirs, near Paddington, when she was ordered out by a staff member - leaving her “shaken” and “harassed”.And why was she ordered out?
Ms Uppaladinni, 42, said: “I was browsing for a souvenir and a man ordered me to get out of his shop, saying dogs are not allowed.
“I continued shopping because I know I have a legal right to be there with my dog, which is specially trained.
“He kept harassing me but I dug my heels in and refused to leave. He then said “blind people like you should not be in my shop.”
“He told me “You can call the police or take me to court but I’m not allowing you in.”Did she call the police? No.
“I showed him my ID and he said he did not want to read it and said “get out, now.”So she got out, despite knowing she had every right to be there...
Now, pause to consider which identity group we might be talking about here. Yup, you got it:
A worker at the shop said: “The member of staff involved has been disciplined. The shop’s owners are Muslim so there is a general policy of no dogs.
“We have a sign at the door which says guide dogs are allowed - but he did not know it was there.”Clearly, if what he said to Ms Uppaladinni is correct, he knew full well that he was out of line. He was well aware of the risk of being taken to court, he just didn’t care.
And why should he? That risk is vanishingly small, thanks to the cringing acquiescence of everyone involved!
Ms Uppaladinni said she had no plans to seek legal action but wanted to make shopkeepers aware of the fact that guide dogs should always be permitted.Oh, give me strength…
David Kent, Engagement Officer for London with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association said: “Legally she is allowed in the shop. We campaign tirelessly to make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen.”A bit less campaigning and shaking your head sorrowfully, and a bit more suing & referring to council’s Trading Standards teams to reinforce the message, might help, Mr Kent.
Or you can continue to whinge about it in the newspapers and let people like this know they face few consequences for their actions.