Yancy Baer, a disabled American war veteran, was paying a visit to Houston on behalf of an organization that trains service dogs which are provided to disabled people.
Little did he think he would be harassed by an employee at a Starbucks in that city who refused to let him into the store because of his service dog, Beanz. The employee tried to force him to prove his disability in order to be allowed into the Starbucks, and when Baer said it was a service dog, the employee said, “You’re not blind!”
Baer replied with, “I know and she isn’t a seeing eye dog, she’s a physical service dog.”
Beanz had her working collar and bright blue service vest on at the time all of this was going down.
The employee then asked what the dog did, and Baer talked about the ways in which Beanz performed tasks for him. As if the employee hadn’t harassed him enough, he then asked “Why can’t you do that yourself?”
This person not only thought a service dog was for blind people, but he also completely humiliated and embarrassed this man. Maybe you should get your facts straight before you get in someone’s face! Eventually Baer talked with another employee to get his point across, and the employee who stopped him at the door said he was sorry.
Baer took to Facebook to vent his frustration. He wrote on there, “This whole time the guy is in my face, being loud and I’m trying my hardest not to choke slam his a**. The only thing that prevented this a-hole from a trip to the hospital was the face that I was with an individual to to have an important meeting about… wait for it, SERVICE DOGS!”
He had bone cancer after a non-combat related injury in Iraq in 2009, and his left leg had to be amputated from the knee down. Thanks to Canine Companions for Independence, a national non-profit organization, he received his service dog 14 weeks ago.
Baer is sharing what happened to him in the hopes of educating others and preventing something like this from happening to someone else. He also wants to show that a person doesn’t need to have a visible disability to warrant having a service dog.
Starbucks released this statement:
“Starbucks always welcomes service animals to our stores, and this customer’s experience is not consistent with the welcoming and friendly environment we strive to create for everyone. We have spoken with this customer to apologize for his experience, and we hope to have the opportunity to serve him again. We have also spoken with our store partner about this situation and used this as a coaching opportunity for the future.”