My little red tether is my anchor in running with my friends. A beautiful guide dog has been my tether/anchor in mobility and independence for 17 years: 1. Pantera 2. Cricket, and now my beautiful 3. Georgina (Georgie). A life of family and friends is my joy and anchor in life.

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it. CC Scott

Monday, September 23, 2013

ADA & Crepes

Fifteen years ago I had my first experience of entering a grocery store and being told to leave with my guide dog.  Inspite of our efforts to explain, the store manager not only escorted us out but called the police to make sure we would leave!  That evening in the parking lot waiting for the police to come,  I had a quiet resolve to always assertively speak up. Although I didn't want to bring any attention to myself, I also recognized that I needed to speak up for the next person that entered that grocery store ... that restaurant ... that interview ...that effort to embrace life.   

I just sent this letter:   

September 23, 2013
Breakfast at Tifiny’s
Santa Clara, UT

Dear Tifiny,

My husband and I along with my guide dog were excited to enjoy a crepe at your restaurant last Saturday.  After a nice long bike ride on our tandem, I was ready to choose the mango, peach and kiwi crepe!  We walked in to be seated and were told with my dog we could only be seated outside in the front corner.  The front outside corner was in the direct sun and also there was a very large group seated right next to the small table offered.  It would have been a very uncomfortable place to sit.  We explained that we would like to sit in the main seating area and were told because of my guide dog our only option was to sit in this front table.  We explained to both the hostess and then the waitress, Jessica, that Cricket was my guide dog and that she is allowed to be in the restaurant to have the same options of seating as any patrons.  We were again told that our option was to sit in the front outside corner.  Jessica tried to explain that it was because of health codes.  I trust that you know this is not the case.  Through the Americans with Disabilities Act, a guide dog is allowed to be seated in the main seating area of a restaurant.

I explained again that this is discriminatory and we left with her telling us to have a nice day!! 

We recognized that the other time we had been to your restaurant we had been seated outside when it was windy and raining and were not given the option to go inside.  Now we understand why.    

I have enclosed some educational pamphlets and would strongly encourage you to educate your employees so that this type of unfortunate discrimination to a couple that simply wanted to enjoy brunch together doesn’t escalate with someone else.

As a woman who is blind, I have travelled with a guide dog for 16 years.  Thankfully because of the Americans with Disabilities Act she is allowed to serve as my eyes and guide in all public places. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to email or call me.



Ironically before brunch, I had just sent my friend Lydia, a picture of me in my See Beautiful t-shirt and Cricket in her tag that says:  See Beautiful.  We do.   Certainly, there is beautiful to be seen in all experiences.  Although, I would have loved to have just enjoyed brunch with my husband, I will embrace this experience to share the beautiful joy of a guide dog that allows an individual who is blind to walk confidently into a restaurant and sit down and enjoy good food and company.  There is beauty in the ADA.

09/25/13.  I received a call while at work from Tifiny. She had received my letter and apologized for this incident.   She asked me if Cricket was wearing an identification!  Of course!  I explained that yes indeed she was in her harness that clearly states Guide Dogs for the Blind.  As an outdoor restaurant they have had challenges with people bringing in their pet dogs others indicating their dog is a service dog.  It is a privilege to be able to bring a trained service dog into a public facility.   When others don't respect this and try to bring in their pet, it really impacts those who have legitimate service dogs.

Just a picture below of Cricket in her harness.  I love these harnesses as it is clearly visible:  Guide Dogs for the Blind.


GOOSE said...

Becky while I know you do not desire "attention" on your self, but you are making the=is a better place, better world for all by stepping forward and respectfully educating others. Four paws up to you. Love the photo of you and Cricket. MOM and I just took a similar photo except I am the one wearing the See Beautiful T-Shirt and MOM has my tag on her necklace. hahhahha yea my MOM is funny like that.

S.DAY said...

grrrrrr!!!!! You know how passionately I hate this kind of treatment and discrimination! So frustrating and SO SO SO PROUD of you for educating and "assisting" people to understand your rights and the rights of others.

You're amazing!

Karen said...

So glad you wrote them. We haven't been there and you told me about the good crepes but we won't be going for sure. Hopefully your good wise words will wise them up

Anonymous said...

It takes more courage to put yourself out there and stand up for your (and all of our) rights. It's never a comfortable experience but silence is so much worse. I just wrote the Seabus (public transit ferry) about the rude behaviour I received today while with my guide dog. Keep standing tall and thank you for sharing your letter.

Becky said...

Unknown - I want to know you! Thanks for sharing. I'm sorry for what you experienced on the ferry.

Thanks, Goose, Shannon and Karen for your support!

Lydia Criss Mays said...

THE ADA is BEAUTIFUL. YOU are BEAUTIFUL. Your reaction is BEAUTIFUL. Your willingness to be the voice for others is BEAUTIFUL. Your inspiring beyond what feels comfortable to do what you know is right is BEAUTIFUL. The way you see beautiful is BEAUTIFUL. I am so honored that you and Cricket see and celebrate so much beautiful with us. Seems like I may need to send the crepe place a little see beautiful too! Thank you, Becky, for all you do to create more beautiful in the world for others.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that you were able to find beautiful in the moment anyway. It is sad that this situation still happens, recently happened in Canada again too. I thank you for continuing to educate people. Maybe you can carry the educational pamphlets with you so that if it happens again, you have one right at the moment and can sit where you want while they take a moment to read it.

Becky said...

Thanks, Lydia for your amazing support and sharing beautiful.
Rise - Excellent idea.

Alanna said...

Love you Becky! For everything you stand for and everyone you inspire. I can't believe how you were treated in the restaurant. I hope they take your letter seriously.

Becky said...

Alanna ... Love you!! Thank you :).