CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Greg Gardner and his wife go into one of their favorite restaurants regularly.
“Hash browns, triple order, slathered, smothered, covered, diced, chunked, topped, capped and country,” he says of his Waffle House order, laughing.
They aren’t the only ones in their party – Ganja, Gardner’s diabetic alert service dog, comes, too.
“She’s trained to smell a sugar variation in my breath,” Gardner says.
But a visit to Waffle House on Stetson Drive early Monday morning after a long work night left them frustrated, he says, and embarrassed.
“It was humiliating,” Gardner says. “I knew what was happening should not have been happening.”
Gardner says he and his wife ordered their meals with their waitress, then another employee came over. She asked questions about his dog, then told him the dog had to have her vest on.
“And I tried to explain that the Americans with Disabilities Act doesn’t require that,” Gardner says.
Gardner says the staff then put the food they had ordered in to-go boxes.
“At that point, I was a little put-off,” he says. “That I basically was being asked to leave because I have a disability.”
He says they kept eating, until the employee came back.
“A minute later, they walked over and very abruptly yanked the food out from under us as we were still eating it.”
The Disability Rights and Resources group says vests are not required, and neither are leashes.
“Either [the leash] has to be attached to their chair, or [the dog] has to be 100 percent under their voice control,” Executive Director Julie Sain says.
Which, according to Gardner, Ganja was.
“Her command when we go to a restaurant is ‘under,’” he says. “That means she goes under the table and lays down. Often times, we go to a restaurant and the waitress doesn’t even know there’s a dog under there until we’re leaving.”
But this time, they left after calling police, ultimately deciding to just go.
He says he wants the employee involved to be fired, but does not want the entire restaurant to face consequences.
“My wife and I own a company, and I wouldn’t want someone to judge our company on the interaction of one employee,” he says. “So, I’m going to continue to eat at Waffle House, my wife and I are probably going to eat at Waffle House tonight.”
WBTV spoke with a regional representative of Waffle House Monday, who also called Gardner.
The representative says Waffle House regrets that this situation happened, and his team is going to follow up with employees to make sure everyone knows the proper protocol.
Copyright 2019 WBTV. All rights reserved.
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