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30-year military vet with service dog told to leave Chicago restaurant

Army veteran

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(NaturalNews) A Colorado military veteran with more than 30 years of service in the U.S. Army who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder was recently asked to leave a Chicago restaurant because he came in with his service dog.

As reported by the Washington Times, Maj. Diggs Brown's service dog, Arthur, has been a close friend and assistant for more than two years. During his mid-September visit to Chicago for a weekend, he tried to sit down to eat breakfast at Cochon Volant restaurant with his dog and was met with a surprising reaction.

"When my service dog and I walked in, the hostess took us to the table, and the young lady named Hannah, she said 'You can't have a dog in the restaurant,'" he told CBS's Chicago affiliate. "I kept my cool and I said, you know, 'It's the American Disabilities Act. This is my service dog, he can go wherever I go, it's the law.' So I was seated, placed my order then Hannah came over again and said I have to leave. I said 'It's my service dog,' and she said 'I don't care, you need to leave, we don't have dogs in the restaurant. I could go to the Department of Justice if we continue down this path.'"

Kicked to the curb

Brown said that the episode was the first time he had ever been denied service because of a dog he credits with saving his life.

"He does a lot of things. He wakes me up from nightmares when I have them. When I have anxiety attacks, he calms me down. He has saved my life and I'm even off the drugs," Brown said.

Upon his return to Ft. Collins, Colorado, Brown recounted the embarrassing incident on a Facebook account he created for his dog.

"Chicago welcomes a vet and his service dog. So sad, dad and I went for breakfast and after dad ordered the manager, Hanna, came over and told us we could not dine at the restaurant. Even when dad told her I am a service dog, she said she didn't care. Kicked to the curb," the post said, along with an accompanying photo of Arthur outside the restaurant.

After posting the incident, the story went viral, prompting the manager of the restaurant to email and telephone Brown personally to apologize, according to CBS.

In addition, the restaurant answered with its own post on Facebook extending the apology for an "unfortunate situation" that was "not a true representation of our company policy." The restaurant's management added they would be staging an internal review to clarify company policy and make donations to Colorado Disabled Veterans and Puppies Behind Bars.

Brown credited the restaurant for its quick and comprehensive response, adding that he did not bear a grudge.

Police officers facing similar discrimination

"It's not my intent to destroy a restaurant but it is my intent to make them aware that they have violated a law that not only affects veterans with dogs, but other people with disabilities with service laws and that they need to be aware of the discrimination," he told CBS.

Brown is not the only civil servant who has faced discriminatory practices. In recent months, police officers around the country have reported being denied service at eateries simply because they wear a badge and gun.

CBS's Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate reported that two officers were denied service at a Lewisville Whataburger restaurant in mid-September because, in the words of one employee, "We don't serve police."

"He said it with a straight face, no smile, and just stared at us," said reserve deputy Michael Magovern. "Even if he was joking, I'm not going to eat here because I don't trust that."

"It was just bold for somebody to say that," Magovern added. "I'm not going to judge his heart, but it kind of put me off."

Eventually, corporate officials were contacted and said they would get to the bottom of what happened, adding that it is "not company policy" to refuse service to anyone, let alone police officers.

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