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Blind Man, Cary Restaurant Settle Misunderstanding Over Guide Dog

September 21, 2017
Source: (North Carolina)

What started as a conflict between a business owner and a blind man with a guide dog this week quickly turned into a learning opportunity.

Sean Mealin, who is blind, was thrown out of the Himalayan Range Nepali Restaurant, at 910 NE Maynard Road in Cary, [North Carolina] on Wednesday because of his guide dog, Simba.

Mealin said he tried to explain to a hostess that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires businesses to serve customers with guide dogs, but to no avail.

"I asked point blank, 'Are you refusing to serve me because I have a guide dog?' And she said yes," Mealin said Thursday.

He posted a warning to others with guide dogs on his Facebook page, calling the restaurant "actively hostile towards service animals."

Amid the angry comments the post elicited, however, Prativa Karki, whose parents own Himalayan Range, wrote to apologize and explain what happened.

"Almost all the workers at the restaurant are immigrants and have no concept of service animals," Karki wrote. "They did not know the law, they simply saw your dog and thought dogs aren't usually allowed at the restaurant and said no."

Owner Amar Karki, who is from Nepal, said Thursday that his daughter set him straight about the ADA and service dogs.

"My daughter told me, 'Don't do that,' you know," Amar Karki said. "We respect the law, and we applaud the law."

He apologized to Mealin and asked him to come back.

"We invite him. Anytime he come here, he can eat, bring the dog," he said.

Mealin said he was grateful that Prativa Karki intervened and cleared up the misunderstanding.

"She made sure the staff were educated about the rights of people with service animals and assured me something like this would never happened again," he said.

He said he looks forward to taking Amar Karki up on his offer to visit the restaurant with Simba, and he said he hopes his experience will help create awareness among business owners about the rights of [people with disabilities].

"Not just this restaurant, but anyone who sees the social media posts or the newscasts can learn from this and hopefully avoid something like this in the future," he said.

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