A blind man who was enjoying a family meal at a Birmingham restaurant claims that he was asked to leave the establishment because he had his guide dog with him.
34 year old Faz Iqbal was dining at Atlantis Fish & Chips with his parents and brother on Monday 3 February, as part of his mother’s birthday celebrations. Iqbal was born blind and has macular degeneration, which means he relies on the assistance of his guide dog Topper.
Topper, a black Labrador, was accompanying Iqbal and his family at the meal, but the family were asked to leave after a customer made a complaint about the presence of the dog. Speaking out about the incident, Iqbal said: “We put our bags down and I went to use the toilet. I was then told: ‘You have to leave, you can’t have a guide dog here'.”
When Iqbal questioned the restaurant’s decision and clarified that Topper was a guide dog, he was told that the council had instructed the restaurant to not allow dogs or guide dogs inside the restaurant.
The man was dining at a fish and chip restaurant
Iqbal has visited the restaurant previously and has had no such issue. He said: “I loved the place and have taken many of my friends there. I always take Topper with me. I don’t like using a cane. The confidence Topper gives me is so much better.”
However, the experience has left Iqbal wary of visiting shops and restaurants with his guide dog in tow: “Now, every shop we go past, I ask my brother to read and see if guide dogs are allowed. I am worried they will ask me to leave. Once I love a place I love it, but I don’t want to go back there.”
Atlantis Fish & Chips has since apologised for the incident and has invited Iqbal and his family to return for a meal. In a statement, staff member Halil Oz said: “It’s obviously a mistake on our behalf… we will rectify it. Whenever they want to come they are welcome any time.”
This isn’t the only restaurant blunder of recently. This week, a Liverpool steakhouse has faced criticism for serving smaller ‘ladies’ steaks.