KFC refused entry to guide dog

By Ted JeoryA BLIND man who was refused entry into a KFC outlet because he had his guide dog with him has branded its apology offer of two variety meals “pitiful”.

By Ted Jeory

A BLIND man who was refused entry into a KFC outlet because he had his guide dog with him has branded its apology offer of two variety meals “pitiful”.

Steve Hubbard, 47, from Clacton, said he was humiliated by the treatment he claimed to have suffered at the fast-food chain's Chelmsford branch.

Mr Hubbard said he would take the company to court unless it agreed to make a “substantial” donation to a guide dogs charity.

The civil servant said other customers had watched in disbelief as staff at the Moulsham Street restaurant tried to usher him, his wife and guide dog out.

“Someone came up to us and said no dogs were allowed. I showed him my identity card and asked to see the manager,” added Mr Hubbard, who has been registered blind since 1999.

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“But all he said was that I could just have a takeaway and that would be it. People eating in there couldn't believe it - it was only a guide dog. We were gobsmacked. The whole thing was extremely upsetting.”

Although KFC later wrote to him apologising for their mistake, Mr Hubbard, who is partially sighted, said it had compounded his distress by sending a letter in a typeface too small for him to read.

It also offered him two variety meals as a goodwill gesture, but Mr Hubbard said: “That was pitiful and I told them so.

“What they did was against the law. Unless you are blind, you don't realise how it feels when something like this happens.”

Mr Hubbard has sought legal advice about the incident and asked the company to make a donation to the Clacton branch of The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

A spokesman for The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association said: “What KFC did was illegal.

“We have been campaigning to raise awareness of these kinds of issues with companies like them for years - I hope they have rectified the problem.”

A spokesman for KFC GB Ltd said: “We have apologised to the customer involved for the recent misunderstanding and have reassured him that all members of staff receive training on service and access for disabled customers.

“It has always been our policy to welcome working dogs into our restaurants and we have contacted the staff members in question to ensure this does not happen again.”

n Anyone wishing to make a contribution to the Clacton branch of The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association should contact 0118 983 8294 or visit www.gdba.org.uk.

ted.jeory@eadt.co.uk

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