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.