Disabled Iraq war veteran Benjamin Wardrid, who suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, was turned away from a restaurant in Mooresville, N.C., because of his service dog, Beau.
"I went to go eat with my family at the Hong Mei Hibachi Grill and Buffett in Mooresville and was refused service from this restaurant," Wardrid told WBTV. "It was strictly because I had my service dog with me. I was completely baffled and that is the first time that has ever happened to me.”
Turning a patron away because they have a service dog violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, which states that "privately owned businesses that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities, are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities.”
The ADA ensures people with disabilities are allowed onto business premises and any place other customers are “generally allowed” with their service animal.
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Follow veterans and police officers returned to the restaurant with Wardrid to speak with the restaurant owners.
"We are here to support him, making sure that we can get this resolved, making sure the owner of the restaurant will let him have entrance," said veteran Mike Melton, who was awarded the purple heart in Vietnam.
Wardrid said at first they tried to convince him to eat somewhere else, then claimed he is allowed to eat in a certain area of the restaurant with his service animal.
Off camera, the restaurant owner told WBTV that they had previously had bad experiences with service dogs.