A longtime Army veteran who now suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome was turned away from a South Carolina Verizon store because he was accompanied by his service dog.
Curtis Frye, the vet, said things as simple as going out in public are difficult for him without Nick, a golden retriever, at his side, according to local station WISTV.
“It’s very hard for me to get out in public, which is one of the reasons I have a service dog,” Frye told the station in a Facetime interview. “It gets me interacting with the public and gives me that courage to get out there again.”
On a long drive with friends from Boston to Florida, Frye’s iPhone began acting up, so they made a stop in Florence, S.C., to have it looked at by the local Verizon dealer, .
The sign on the door said service dogs were welcome, so he and Nick proceeded into the store.
After a few minutes, a manager appeared and ordered Frye and Nick out of the store. This is how Frye explained his conversation with the manager to the station:
“‘Hey, sir, you have to leave the store,’ and I’m like, ‘excuse me?’” Frye said. “‘You have to leave the store,’ and I’m like, ‘why?’ ‘Well you can’t have that dog in here,’ and I’m like, ‘Well he’s my service dog.’”
They continued in much the same manner until the manager threatened to call the police. Frye and Nick took that as their cue to exit.
Verizon chalked it all up to a misunderstanding and gave this statement to WISTV:
We deeply regret that one of our employees misunderstood our policy towards service animals and that this misunderstanding resulted in a negative experience for our customer. We have ensured all employees know that service animals are welcome in our retail locations and eagerly look forward to serving any and all customers who come to our stores.”
Frye’s not sure whether he’ll seek legal action or let it go, but feels it’s important that something be done to prevent the same from happening to future veterans.
As for Nick, he’s keeping his thoughts to himself.
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