The owner of a diner who threw out a military veteran from his restaurant has issued a public apology for his actions.
Twenty-year US Air Force vet James Glaser suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome, and his small Jack Russell terrier named Jack is his constant companion for medical reasons. Big I’s restaurant owner Russell Ireland evidently didn’t believe that the canine was a certified service dog and demanded they both leave, thereby creating a huge controversy in the Oxford, Massachusetts area.
Jack jumps on top of Glaser or puts his paws on his chest when the Iraq and Afghanistan veteran has anxiety attacks and calms him down.
Ireland subsequently publicly apologized directly to Glaser at a rally sponsored by the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association held down the street from the diner on Saturday. About 500 persons showed up for the rally.
Said Ireland to those attending the rally: “I now realize how important the love of the animals are to post-traumatic stress, to anybody who needs the assistance. I stand here in front of you embarrassed, ashamed, and I ask for some forgiveness.”
Glaser had planned to sue under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but he accepted the apology; the two men shook hands and hugged at the rally, evidently signifying that the matter has been resolved amicably without getting the courts involved. According to the Boston Globe, “After the rally, Ireland invited Glaser and his wife to visit Big I’s sometime for a complimentary meal.”
A planned boycott of the restaurant has been canceled, and a Facebook page originally set up to coordinate the boycott will be turned into a PTSD information page.
“The incident is a symptom of the larger problem of a lack of awareness and understanding on the issue of PTSD and some of the treatments available, like service dogs,” an official of the motorcycle group observed.