Blind Woman To Press Charges Against Cafe That Denied Service Dog

| by Mackenzie Fleming
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A blind College Station, Texas, woman was unable to dine at a Navasota Café last month after her service dog was denied entry. Navasota Police were called May 23 to Martha’s Bloomers Café when staff repeatedly told Laura Ann Grymes that the dog was prohibited because of health department rules.

Grymes says that her and her mother were going out for lunch to celebrate her mother’s recovery from cancer when her guide dog, Dyson, was not permitted at the café.  Although the dog was wearing a harness that reads “Guide Dogs for the Blind,” Grymes told KBTX that two waitresses would not allow Dyson to come inside the restaurant or to be tied up outside. After explaining the and showing her Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) card, Grymes says the manager gave her the same response as the waitresses.

Navasota Police were called to the scene but told Grymes that it was a civil matter and there was nothing they can do, according to a KBTX update. The police later told KBTX that they are investigating the incident as a criminal offense.

Although Martha’s Bloomers staff was not available for interviews, Carolyn Alvey, the company spokesperson, told KBTX that the incident was a misunderstanding and that the Café is pet and ADA friendly and would welcome Grymes and her service dog back at any time.

“The hostess heard 'guard' dog and not 'guide' dog. We were saddened that this miscommunication, 30-60 seconds of terrible miscommunication by someone who's not normally greeting our guests just blew up to something that was really unfortunate," Alvey explained to KBTX.

Grymes is now pressing charges and says she wants education for both the café and police, according to KBTX. Grymes took to Facebook May 23, posting an explanation of the situation and expressing her concerns.

“I hope education comes about through this frustrating humiliating experience and I will not give Martha's bloomers my business ever again," the post read.

The post quickly gained attention and has now received dozens of comments and over 1,200 shares.

Navasota police say they will use this incident as a learning opportunity and Martha’s Bloomers Café also said they are reviewing the Americans with Disability Act policies to ensure a clear understanding.

Sources: KBTX, (2), (3), Facebook

Photo Credit: Facebook, KBTX