Today I had the opportunity to be interviewed and share my experience with KSL about Ann Taylor on Friday. I emphasized that I live my life turning lemons into lemonade. Inspite of this being a very difficult experience, I wanted simply to make sure those employees were educated so that the next time someone entered their store with a guide dog or another service animal they would be welcomed and treated with respect. Simple. Unfortunately, Ann Taylor has issued a response to those who have advocated on my behalf that is totally incorrect. They have indicated that I entered the store without my dog in harness. Absolutely absurd! I am so disheartened that they have misrepresented what is the truth. I am blind and require the aid of a guide dog or a cane by my side to walk independently. To make it very clear I walked into the store with my guide dog in harness, of course! Why would I enter the store without her in her harness? I am so very grateful for the beautiful blessing of a guide dog that allows me to travel independently. I am so grateful for the Americans with Disabilities Act that allows me to have access to places that serve the public - guaranteed. These are privileges that I appreciate each day of my life.
In finding the humor, I sat there being interviewed in one of my favorite Ann Taylor blouses. I must say this skirt from Banana Republic is becoming a new favorite. I love how the associate at BR was telling me all the fun things it could go with in my closet. She even asked me do you have a fun print belt? Yes!
I am not sure what I will do with all my Ann Taylor clothes. I know right now I have a really sad feeling about them. I want to support a place that is respectful and speaks the truth. Deeply saddened that not only did they treat me in such a discriminatory way asking me to leave more than once but now they have indicated my guide dog was not in her harness.
Simply put - Cricket was in her harness working as a guide dog and I simply entered the store hoping to find a fun outfit when I was asked to leave more than once because of my dog. I explained she was my guide dog and even offered to show my identification.
What is the lemonade in this journey? Support. Thank you. Education on blindness and guide dogs. I am an active wife, mother, friend, professional, runner, cyclist, and yes, shopper. Each day is a gift and I don't have time to spend on negative energy. I am still hopeful that Ann Taylor Senior Management will choose to take responsibility, speak the truth, and educate their employees so that this does not happen to another customer.