Disabled woman says restaurant violated her rights

Disabled woman says restaurant violated her rights

February 8, 2010 6:43:54 PM PST
A Fayetteville woman says her rights as a disabled person were violated at a local restaurant.Katharine Royal was born with Spinal Bifida. It's a condition that's made it difficult for her to walk.

So she has a service dog, Isaiah, to help her get around.

"If were in need to go from the wheelchair to another chair... or the wheelchair to a bed," Royal said. "So mostly it's all mobility assistance type work."

Royal was shocked last month when an employee at the Olive Garden on McPherson Church Road asked her and Isaiah to change tables.

Royal says it was because a child at a neighboring table became upset about her dog.

"And finally we were set back in a corner table, which to me almost kind of looked like it was in a storage area and couldn't see any of the other patrons from where we were seated."

"I think the parent with the child should have been moved," Fayetteville resident Vivian Kanet said. "The handicap people have a right to good service at a place to sit down and enjoy their food without having to be taken to the back of the restaurant."

The Olive Garden's parent company in Orlando Florida agrees. Darden Foods is using the incident to reinforce disability laws at all of its restaurant across the country.

Meanwhile, Royal continues to train service dogs for soldiers returning from combat.

"I just don't want a soldier to come back after fighting for this country and have the thanks they get for what they did and coming back so injured or disabled to be treated like I was," she said.

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