Being both openly gay and disabled It is quite hard to find a “regular” a pub or bar or restaurant that you can call home.When you do they have great food in our case vegan, and the staff are friendly and non homophobic and the disabled can actually get in.
I thought I had found such a place in Brooklyn New York, an Aussie restaurant. I met the owner and he’s a nice guy a down to earth Aussie, and I can roll in the side door no problems and they have a disabled accessible bathroom and once inside all ramps no steps and it’s just around the corner from climbing.
Except for one small hiccup right at the start where a now no longer employed waiter was a homophobe, everything is good every Thursday I have lunch there before climbing. They met Zeus my service dog they all loved him patted him and accepted him UNTIL YESTERDAY.
There has been an older overweight women who I thought was just the chef hanging around for a while, I had no idea who she was and didn’t really care I had no need to ever meet her so all was good. This week end had been a extra long date night for Ella and I, It started Friday with a surprise meal with roses and a table at a great Italian restaurant then coffee in little Italy and a stroll through the san gennaro feast. Then a sleep in and a late Saturday brunch at the restaurant were discussing and we took Zeus.The regular barmaid who I have seen every Thursday since April greeted us and met him and patted him and we discussed service dogs. The head waiter came out and got right down on his knees to pat him, and our waiter got a take away container for us so we could feed him in short everyone saw him knew he was a service dog and loved him lunch was tasty and the enviroment relaxing as usual .
We went from our wonderful brunch to three great hours of free climbing at Brooklyn boulders, and at about 6pm we said let’s stop in for a beer on the way home. I rolled in the normal door fronted up to the bar and proceeded to give Zeus the sit and drop command he did and he sat at my feet and was perfectly quiet and well behaved.
The same barmaid who rubbed his belly and saw his federally approved service dog vest with 2 inch high letters on it stating SERVICE DOG just three hours earlier greeted me and asked if I wanted a beer my usual? I ordered and then suddenly she came around the bar yelling loudly”no dogs in here mia you have to leave your dog can’t be in here” I said confused what are you talking about its Zeus, you know Zeus. She replied “I don’t care no dogs you all have to leave” I said I don’t want to pull law on you but service dogs are allowed anywhere I am, you know he’s a service dog what’s going on? She replied”I don’t care he has to leave” then the overweight woman yelled very loudly “get the dog out”.
I replied he is a service dog “how do we know he looks like any other shepherd” well maybe the vest with the big glow in the dark letters might be a hint plus except for you every other staff member and the owner have met him patted him and know he’s a service dog.she yelled “I am the owner and I have never met him” excuse me I said, I know the owner were from the same Australian town and your American? Well um”ah I am his partner a part owner she said”. Well where is he I asked? not here and I am I charge and how do we know he’s a service dog “ I picked up Zeus and lifted him up and when she saw the vest she yelled “ok shut up it’s over I suppose he can stay” as if she actually had a choice?.
I said no this never should have happened I introduced him three weeks ago to the owner and got his approval and in that three weeks he has accompanied me twice to have dinner here and once for a beer outside. “shut up you’re over reacting she screamed” I downed my beer put on my push gloves and said Ella lets get the hell out of here, now FYI Ella is legally deaf if she is not looking at you or if she is reading a text or a email she cannot hear, as we rolled past the overweight woman she blocked my path and began once again berrating me then suddenly she said in an insulting tone “who’s the woman with you? Because I don’t care for her looks of disapproval behind your back at me while I’m talking to you. I looked at her confused because Ella had been reading an email from her sister on her I-phone for the last 5 minutes so couldn’t have heard a thing, “who Ella that’s my wife” well I don’t care for your wife’s judgmental looks” You mean my legally deaf wife who never heard a damn word you said ? i replied You mean the woman who can’t hear you unless he looks at you?
I don’t care for your insults, she was reading a family email! Whatever she grunted and she unblocked the exit and we left.
We had rolled into a place we loved to be served by people we thought were cool with a service dog who was welcome and had the owners approval, but because of ignorance and for some reason lying on behalf of the bar staff making out they had never met him we were humiliated berated insulted and made the butt of gossip of a room of almost 100 people some who I had met before. Then because of her actions instead of apologies she turned and insulted another disabled person my deaf wife. Believe me readers the want to hurt people who hurt your loved ones isn’t reserved for the genital scratching heterosexual husbands, this behemoth of uncouth was only saved from begging forgiveness because the very woman she insulted and I have made a faith based pact of non violence. But at that moment every kata of the three martial arts I hold black belts in flew through my mind waiting to be chosen as the blow of choice. The first thing taught in criminal law 101 is ignorance is not a defense, this woman if in fact she is my aussie mates partner by the very fact she co -owns a liquor license must know the laws pertaining to the use of service animals by the disabled and their right to enter licensed premises without barrier. They have lost several hundred dollars of business every month, they have lost the thousands of words of praise for their venue I formerly heaped upon them and the good name I promoted through my blog and they have lost my respect. Insults and belittling is not an aussie trait, we help a mate and the owner I knew was so angry when just one waiter was homophobic that staff member is no longer there and we were invited for a free meal in apology.
so I have emailed him and I wait to see when he realizes the entire structure of his business collapsed into a slur throwing humiliating team of liars and dealers in hate. This venue was until 6pm last night to me an oasis in a city that is not fair to those who live lives different to others but now they have joined the herd just like all the other mindless sheep who think caring is someone else’s job