When one of our soldiers has returned home from war, it’s important that society as a whole helps them to ease back in to normal life.
This is more pertinent than ever when it comes to those serving men and women who are suffering from PTSD. The condition can affect anyone exposed to traumatic experiences, and can take a good deal of time to get over.
Sadly, Major Diggs Brown wasn’t afforded the concession he needed when he sat down to have breakfast in a restaurant in Chicago. A 30-year veteran of the Army, he suffered from PTSD upon returning from Afghanistan. At one Cochon Volant on West Monroe Street, however, he was given a somewhat rude ordeal …
“Vet and Service Dog Get Apology from Restaurant…………
Major Diggs Brown, a retired Army veteran and former city council member in Colorado wanted to eat breakfast at Chicago’s Cochon Volant recently. Upon arrival, he and his therapy dog Arthur Baker Black were told that there is no way he’d be allowed into the restaurant with his dog, and was turned away.
Even though Maj. Brown needs Arthur to help manage issues and symptoms he suffers through having post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, Cochon Volant was not having it. According to him, this forced he and his dog to look elsewhere for food.
“I have no animosity toward this restaurant,” Maj. Brown said. “It’s just a fact of life that a lot of people are not aware of the ADA laws and how they pertain to service dogs or service animals.”
After an outcry on social media websites against the restaurant, Cochon Volant has issued two public apologies to Maj. Brown and Arthur. One made Saturday morning, and another on Sunday. They were posted to the restaurant’s Facebook page, and in an effort to make things right, the restaurant decided to make a donation to Puppies Behind Bars.
Despite the efforts of the restaurant, many people on Facebook didn’t exactly have the kindest of sentiments towards Cochon Volant. The restaurant’s general manager, Josh Schatan said that they have been in contact with Maj. Brown, and the situation has been rectified.
“Yesterday’s circumstance was not a true representation of our company policy and we have begun immediate internal review of protocol, training of staff and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations to ensure this will never happen again,” said Schatan.
This hasn’t totally soured Maj. Brown’s opinion of every business in Chicago. The Hyatt Centric hotel that they were staying at was very accommodating to Arthur. They had even brought Arthur his own bed, bowls and treats.
Unfortunately, these situations are cropping up more often all over the United States. Some chalk it up to a lack of knowledge as to the rules and regulations surrounding dogs and the ADA, others are convinced it’s nothing more than a discriminatory thing. However, many people are being denied service at many places, and in today’s day and age, not knowing the laws is a poor excuse. Most especially when things like Google and the internet are available to most Americans on command.”
As a result of his PTSD, Major Brown’s service dog Arthur has been his ever-present companion for years. It’s no surprise then that Arthur was present when Major Brown went to have breakfast one day.
Upon entering the restaurant, he was greeted by a waitress who showed him to his table.
“When my service dog and I walked in, the hostess took us to the table, and the young lady named Hannah, she said you can’t have a dog in the restaurant,” Brown said.
Keeping his cool, Brown told her that Arthur was a service dog, and that the Americans with Disabilities Act states he can go wherever Brown goes.
“Great Program for Our Vets and Prisoners…with “Arthur”…life companion of one of my Brother Green Berets Major (Ret) Diggs Brown…both of whom were kicked out of a restaurant in Chicago because “dogs aren’t allowed”…even if they do save/enrich the lives of people in physical AND metaphorical prisons. Gee, Public Defender…you listening?”
Eventually he was seated and placed his order, but it wasn’t long before Hannah came back again. She asked him to leave the establishment again, to which he repeated that she would be violating the law by kicking him out simply because of Arthur’s presence.
Hannah replied: “I don’t care, you need to leave, we don’t have dogs in the restaurant.”
Arthur felt embarrassed, but nevertheless acquiesced and left, heading back to Fort Collins by way of a plane.
“He does a lot of things,” Brown said of Arthur. “He wakes me up from nightmares when I have them. When I have anxiety attacks, he calms me down. He saved my life and I’m even off the drugs.
“When I got home, I posted to my Facebook page, this is what happened to me and it went viral,” he explained.
Needless to say, Brown’s story went viral quickly, with thousands agreeing that he was completely in the right. As per the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, service dogs are permitted in all places where a member of the public can go, with very few, special exceptions.
Unfortunately, clearly not everyone is aware of this – or at the least not prepared to respect it.
Luckily, Brown’s story had something of a happy ending. The manager of the restaurant called Brown personally and emailed him an apology. Taking to Facebook, they said: “The Cochon Volant family is both saddened and disappointed to hear this account of a veteran’s experience.
“Not only are we 100% aware of and in compliance with all ADA regulations regarding service dogs, we also have an acute appreciation for the service of veterans and we are happy to welcome staff members and employees who have honorably served this country.”
As for the employee who asked Brown to leave, he also shared his thoughts on her.
“I really hope this young lady isn’t fired for this, she just needed to be educated,” Brown said.
It’s important that this story gets as far and wide as possible, in the main so that more people are aware of the laws regarding service dogs. It’s our hope that no veteran is again wrongfully removed from an establishment!
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