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Blind woman says restaurant patio refused service because of her guide dog

Jul 11, 2023, 6:15 PM | Updated: Jul 12, 2023, 6:29 am

PARK CITY, Utah — A woman who is blind says she was refused service at a Park City restaurant because of her guide dog.

Becky Andrews takes her service dog, Kalimba, everywhere, including in her car, grocery stores, and out to eat.

They have known each other for two and a half months.

“It’s a pretty special bond,” Andrews said. “Kalimba loves to hike, she loves to travel.”

They spend every moment together. Andrews said she wouldn’t be able to walk freely without Kalimba.

“I have retinitis pigmentosa, which is a degenerative eye condition. Going into a new situation, I’m pretty much going not to see anything,” she said.

Kalimba walks Andrews through doors, up to counters and finds her a seat. Which is what she did Sunday at Café Terigo in Park City.

“The waitress came up and said, ‘You’re not able to sit outside with your dog.’ And I said, ‘Well, she’s my service animal. She’s my guide dog.’” Andrews said.

Andrews said despite her explaining the Americans with Disabilities Act, the staff refused to serve her on the patio.

“The manager came out, kind of experienced a very similar conversation with her. She said no, if you want to eat here we have to eat inside,” Andrews explained.

She decided to leave.

“It was that moment that I’ve experienced before where I feel just a little sick to my stomach,” Andrews said.

In 2012 she was kicked out of Ann Taylor at City Creek for the same reason: her guide dog.

“It does happen and I think it’s important that you advocate and speak up,” she said.

Andrews filed a complaint with the Department of Justice against the café.

She said more than anything, she wants them to recognize and understand the law.

“Happy to give them some training,” she said.

She’s done it before.

Andrews is an Ann Taylor shopper again after the store apologized and invited her to train their employees on inclusive policies.

“They reassured that it was going to be part of their training for new employees,” she said. “It did feel like a resolution.”

KSL reached out to Café Terigo by phone and email but managers said they had no comment.

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Blind woman says restaurant patio refused service because of her guide dog