McDonald’s has issued a public apology to a visually impaired woman who claims employees at a southern Norway location asked her leave because she was accompanied by her service dog.
On Friday, Tina Marie Asikainen and her five-year-old daughter were dining at McDonald’s with Asikainen’s black Labrador guide dog, Rex. Though Rex was wearing a fluorescent harness marked with the words “guide dog,” Asikainen says employees approached her just as she was starting her meal, reports Reuters.
“We had Rex with us when we ordered food,” Asikainen told Norwegian news website NRK. “But after two minutes, before we had eaten the food, one of the employees came and asked us to leave because we had a dog."
Soon five other McDonald’s employees began “loudly” asking Asikainen to leave the restaurant, while about twenty other customers looked on. Asikainen says she showed the employees her handler’s identity card but said that “they were not interested in reading it.” She continued to explain that she was blind and needed Rex’s assistance for mobility, but eventually broke down into tears.
When she threatened police action, Asikainen says the McDonald’s employees only laughed despite the fact that Norwegian law dictates people with disabilities cannot be denied access to services.
Two police officers who eventually arrived on the scene reportedly “rebuked the staff” but Asikainen said the entire situation was “such a bad experience” and “so embarrassing,” in a later post on Facebook.
Katherine Moe, a spokeswoman for McDonald’s Norway, issued the following statement regarding the incident:
“If this is true we regret it, for this certainly isn’t what is supposed to happen.”
But Asikainen says that she has yet to hear from anyone at McDonald’s corporate personally and was surprised by the public apology. According to Reuters, she is considering pressing charges against the restaurant group today.