A Burger King staff denied entry to a war veteran because he had a PTSD dog. 40-year-old Richard Mearns had gone to the fast-food branch at Waterloo Station, London when a member of staff allegedly asked him to "get out" despite him explaining that his dog, Ziggy was a PTSD dog and showing his bright blue 'Assistance Dog' jacket.
Mearns then demanded to see the manager over the issue, who, he claims also said that they "only allow guide dogs." Mearns said that after explaining to the manager that this is incorrect, he received only a "grunted apology" and was left feeling ''deeply upset.'' Burger King, in a statement, said they were looking into the said incident and assured that the "use of assistance dogs is permitted across all of their UK restaurants."
SSP, who operates the Burger King at Waterloo, issued an apology over the incident and noted that one of their staff "did not realize the customer in question required special assistance." The Father of one, Mearns, who was a combat medical technician for the British Army in Iraq has now demanded that Burger King make ensure the training of all of their staff on assistance dogs so that no one else is left as "embarrassed" again.
'No dogs allowed in here'
Mearns, who was diagnosed with PTSD in 2009, stated that he was waiting when "the bloke behind the counter looked at me and the dog, before saying 'you need to get out because there's no dogs allowed in here.'" Mearns said that he was "dumbfounded" so he tried to explain that his dog, Ziggy "wearing a jacket that says 'Assistance Dog.'" "You don't need any more clarity than that," he said.
Mearns further noted that the employee again insisted that "this is a food venue, so there's no dogs allowed in here.'' Mearns then demanded to see the manager. "He was so disgruntled to have to go and get the manager," he said. Mearns noted that the employee's lack of "compassion and awareness" was just "sickening." "It causes me such angst and stress."
'A very grunted apology'
"We only allow guide dogs," the manager said, according to Mearns. He then went on to explain how Ziggy was an assistance dog. "I wanted them to accept a mistake had been made, to be given an apology and for us to move forward," Mearns said. "His apology was like Kevin and Perry...very much a grunted apology. They clearly didn't care. Why is it okay to embarrass somebody in a crowded area like this?"
Richard Mearns was deployed to Iraq in 2003. He was diagnosed with PTSD in 2009 and was given Ziggy in 2016 to provide him with support.