Linda Hay visited Darlington's Uno Momento restaurant last Sunday with five family members and her guide dog, Kitty.
Ms Hay said: “We went there for a meal about 4.30pm. It wasn’t packed or anything.
“The chap came out and said no dogs allowed. I told him it was a guide dog and he couldn’t do that.”And what, one wonders, were all the other waiters doing?
“He said it makes no difference," she said.
"He said it has got hair and you’re not getting in.”
The way she was treated was disappointing and left her feeling embarrassed, she said.
She added: “I was so incensed we just went home. ”And this is the problem. Too many people ‘just give up’, rather than standing their ground and demanding the access that is theirs by right.
Manager Cetin Odabasi said he had personally apologised to Ms Hay, which she accepted, and the restaurant had made a £100 donation to the British Guide Dogs Association.Too little, too late. And too much buck passing!
He said the incident was a mistake made by junior staff and Ms Hay and Kitty would be welcome back to the restaurant any time.
“I wasn’t working there on the night and this is just a misunderstanding," he said.
“Normally we would’ve welcomed her in. In five years we have never had this problem.
“We have guide dogs in here two or three times a week and we always look after them. We give them water and things like that."
He added: “We feel very, very badly about this. It was a mistake by a waiter who is just a young lad.”Then it’s your responsibility to train him in the Equalities Act before he interacts with customers, and to ensure that he is mentored at all times by a more experienced member of staff.
Apologies after the fact – usually as a result of unwelcome publicity - just won’t cut it anymore.
Might we have the offensive underling's name, or would that reveal the source of his hatred of dogs? You know the ideology that declares angels don't visit houses containing dogs or pictures? I wonder when they are going to start in on pictures, only a matter of time.
In my view any person or establishment should have the right of refusal and laws should not be enacted to stop that unless it will cause harm. If it causes offence well tough and if society does not like that offence then that establishment will be boycotted or that person will be ostracised.
I accept that this incident is not quite like that and you expose the failings so prevalent of poor communication, training and education and so many other things. We have made so many advances scientifically and technologically as a civilisation but alas human behaviour has not kept pace and we still seem to be as inept and stupid as we have always been.
Never, ever insist on being served in a restaurant, unless you like the taste of what will be tossed into your food, or you like the idea of a faecal sauce on your steak. Take your money elsewhere.
Maybe it was a genuine mistake. As you say, people tend to give up and go home. That's because they don't have the balls for a fight on the threshold of the restaurant but are happy to phone the local paper from home and get their fifteen minutes. If she had stood her ground, maybe a more experienced member of staff would have put things right.
Either way though, you know my views on this subject. Their gaff etc.
"Might we have the offensive underling's name, or would that reveal the source of his hatred of dogs?"
I very much doubt that he, too, isn't Turkish. And probably related to the owner.
"In my view any person or establishment should have the right of refusal..."
Maybe so, but we don't. And while we don't, the law should be observerd by all. No exceptions.
"Never, ever insist on being served in a restaurant..."
Good point! I take the view that if they don't want my custom, other establishments deserve the money more.
"If she had stood her ground, maybe a more experienced member of staff would have put things right. "
Or what Northish suggested might have happened! These people aren't known for accepting defeat with good grace, are they?
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