Aryeh Ohayon just wanted to sit down and enjoy some Thai food, but instead the Iraq War veteran was kicked out of the Houston restaurant when management took issue with his service dog.
The incident happened late in February at the Thai Spice Buffet II in Houston. Ohayon said he was told to leave the restaurant because of his service dog, so he decided to call police and have them sort it out.
The situation got worse from there, Aryeh Ohayon said.
"I told him what my disabilities were. That's when he said, you're not blind," Ohayon told KHOU. "[He said] I don't see why you need the dog."
Though Aryeh Ohayon is not visually impaired in any way, his service dog is still an important part of his everyday life. Ohayon said that 23 years of service in the Army and Navy left him with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and the dog helps watch over him.
"He's the alert if I start to have a panic attack or start to go into a flashback mode," said Ohayon.
Though Texas has a law that protects people from service dogs from being refused entry to public places, the officer said the Thai Spice Buffet II is a private business and allowed to kick him out.
Aryeh Ohayon said the incident left him feeling disrespected.
"It feels like your service and experience that you've done to defend and uphold the constitution and protect this country have been belittled," said Ohayon.
Ohayon's case is similar to another incident from last year. The owner of a diner in Massachusetts threw out 22-year Air Force veteran James Glaser, who had a small Jack Russell terrier with him as a service dog. The controversy led to the diner owner apologizing to Glaser.
The manager of the Thai Spice Buffet II told KHOU in Houston that she is looking into why veteran Aryeh Ohayon was denied service, saying she believes it was a misunderstanding.