August 29th, 2011

Gage smile

Ignored at a restaraunt because I have a service dog

So, this happened yesterday [and this happens to be my first post ever to this community, so Hi!] when I was out with my mom running a few quick errands. We had a little extra money left over, so we decided to stop at one of our favorite restaurants, a local chain called Tudor's Biscuit World.

Let me preface this by saying that I have a Psychiatric service dog who I personally trained and who has been working publicly with me since early May. Tudor's is a sit down or take-away place, and we hadn't eaten in since before Gage started working with me.

So, we walked in, got the normal reception of people staring and the cashier very politely took our order and told us to have a seat and that a waitress would bring out our meals.

We found a booth, Gage did his normal routine of going under the table and laying down quietly and we waited. A my mom and I were chatting, the waitress started to come over to take our tray away. She got close to our table, then immediately recoiled in disgust, turned and walked away quickly to where some restaurant employees were sitting [presumably having their lunch] and said loudly, "UGH, I HATE dogs!", then left and exited the dining room.

I looked at my mom and we both just shook our heads and continued chatting, even though I was getting a tad upset by the situation. Next thing I know, the waitress is coming back into the dining room with the manager. The manager says quietly to the waitress, "I don't even see a dog." to which the waitress replies loudly, "It's under the table!"

I, meanwhile, am absolutely mortified and can feel myself edging closer and closer to a panic attack and am shutting down. The manager tells the waitress that Gage is clearly a service dog and that he is most definitely allowed to be here. Th waitress kind of huffs and then walks out of the dining room again while the manager tells my mom an anecdotal story about some other customer who brought his service dog in and all it did was bark at everyone.

After everything started to calm down and I was starting to feel a bit normal again, our meals finally arrived - served by a different waitress. No big deal, at least we got out food and it as hot and delicious. Our meal goes on, and I notice that the same waitress is still in charge of the dining room and she is continually going from table to table asking if "Everything is okay", and if the customers need more napkins or a box or refills.

We were there an hour, and NOT once did this woman come over to us and check on us, ask if we needed anything or say a single word to us the whole time. She actually acted as though we didn't exist.

I was very disappointed leaving the restaurant, and don't plan on coming back. I am wondering if I should write corporate to let them know what went on because the whole thing made me feel very small and hurt my feelings very much. I try not to be, but I tend to obsess about these kind of things and have a hard time recovering from them.

I just wanted to share my experience, I hope that I am not over-thinking it or blowing it out of proportion.

*edited for spelling/grammar issues