A 19-year-old woman who suffered shrapnel wounds during the 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon and was subsequently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder was recently kicked out of a TJ Maxx for bringing her service dog into the store.
The bombing survivor, Sydney Corcoran, claimed that she was issued the service dog Koda in order to help her deal with the stress and anxiety she suffered as a result of surviving the attack.
“He’s crucial to my everyday life now,” Corcoran told NewsCenter 5. “It’s knowing that I have this little support system that’s all my own. He’s my little cheerleader. Honestly, I sleep better now. I used to have a really hard time trying to sleep because my mind would always be going in overdrive.”
When Corcoran attempted to bring Koda into a TJ Maxx in Nashua, New Hampshire, however, she was told by a manager that she had to place the dog in a carriage. Corcoran denied the manager’s demands, claiming that her dog was clearly wearing his blue “service dog” vest and that he would not fit comfortably in the carriage.
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Corcoran’s mother Celeste, who reportedly lost both of her legs during the marathon bombing, arrived at the TJ Maxx soon after Corcoran was kicked out in order to explain how the manager’s actions were damaging to her daughter.
“There are so many people with invisible, silent injuries -- and the public needs to be aware that their service animals are sometimes their lifeline,” Celeste said, according to the New York Daily News.
TJ Maxx’s corporate office also issued a statement in support of Corcoran, apologizing for the incident and claiming to investigate the employee responsible for asking the woman to leave.