Legally Blind Man and Guide Dog Expelled from Restaurant for Not Appearing Blind

by Lisa

A recent incident in a Seattle-based restaurant has sparked conversation surrounding accessibility and discrimination after a legally blind man and his guide dog were asked to leave due to doubts about the man’s disability.

Sharing his experience on TikTok, Paul recounted the encounter he and his guide dog, Mr. Maple, had at the eatery. Upon entering, they were confronted by a restaurant employee who informed them of a “no pets allowed” policy, insisting that only service dogs were permitted.


Despite Paul’s assurance that Mr. Maple was indeed a service dog, the employee questioned whether the dog was instead an “emotional support dog.” Paul, visibly frustrated, explained his blindness and showed the guide dog harness as proof.


In response, the employee remarked, “you don’t look blind,” further perpetuating skepticism about Paul’s disability. Paul clarified that many individuals in the blind community retain some level of functional vision, elaborating on his own limited sight.


The encounter escalated as the employee questioned why Paul was making direct eye contact if he was blind, prompting Paul to explain his “pinhole of vision.” Threats to involve the police were made if Paul returned without proper paperwork for Mr. Maple.


The viral TikTok video, garnering 9.4 million views, concluded with Paul expressing his speechlessness over the ordeal.

Although the restaurant remained unnamed in Paul’s video, he later disclosed that he had a meeting with the establishment’s manager to address the incident. Paul emphasized that he wasn’t seeking legal action against the employee but instead desired an apology and educational dialogue.

Following the meeting, Paul received a sincere apology from the employee and a gift card from the restaurant. TikTok users commended Paul for his handling of the situation, praising his grace and advocacy for accessibility and understanding of invisible disabilities.


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