A McDonald’s restaurant in Norway could face police action after members of staff reportedly forced a blind woman to leave because she was accompanied by her guide dog.
Fredrikstad resident Tina Marie Asikainen wrote on Facebook to complain that she and her five-year-old daughter were made to leave the fast food outlet in tears by five employees “loudly asking me to go”.
As in the UK, it is against the law in Norway for restaurant owners to discriminate against or deny access to a disabled person who is accompanied by a guide dog.
Ms Asikainen told the Norwegian news website NRK that she tried to visit McDonald’s on Friday with black Labrador Rex, who was clearly wearing a fluorescent harness marked “guide dog”.
“We had with Rex with us when we ordered food,” she said. “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.”
She tried to explain that the dog was a guide dog and showed her handler’s identity card to staff – but said: “They were not interested in reading it. There must have been twenty customers there watching while five employees loudly asked me to go. I started to cry, which isn’t something I often do.”
Writing on Facebook, Ms Asikainen said she called the police, who arrived and “rebuked” the staff, but said it was “such a bad experience, I was completely in tears, it was so embarrassing”. Her posts on the matter over the weekend have been shared thousands of times.
Speaking to NRK, Østfold Police spokesperson Terje Norang confirmed officers had been called out to reports of a woman with a guide dog being rejected from McDonald’s, and said they were expecting her to press charges.
In a statement to the AFP news agency, Kathrine Moe, a press officer for McDonald’s in Norway, said: “If this is true we regret it, for this certainly isn’t what is supposed to happen.”