A TJ Maxx store manager in Nashua, New Hampshire, is probably wishing the Internet didn’t exist tonight after her decision to basically kick a Boston Marathon bombing survivor out of the store for having a service dog.
Nineteen-year-old Sydney Corcoran told NewsCenter 5 that her service dog Koda is “crucial to my everyday life now” following the 2013 attack that left her wounded with shrapnel.
“It’s knowing that I have this little support system that’s all my own. He’s my little cheerleader,” she said. “Honestly, I sleep better now. I used to have a really hard time trying to sleep because my mind would always just be going in overdrive.”
Sydney’s mother, Celeste, also survived the Boston Marathon bombing, but lost both legs in the process. She attests that Koda has made an enormous difference in her daughter’s life.
Koda goes everywhere with Sydney and just so there’s no confusion, she has him wear a big blue vest that says “Service Dog,” which he was doing when the TJ Maxx store manager approached her and said the dog would either have to be in a carriage or they would need to leave the store on Daniel Webster Highway.
“The store manager came over to me and said to me, ‘If you want to keep your dog in the store, you have to put him in the carriage.’”
Sydney explained the animal’s function — in spite of having a vest that did it for her — and added that Koda could not comfortably fit in the carriage. The manager responded that the carriage was a “new policy” and that she would have to comply.
To break from the action a bit, it’s worth mentioning that, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, all businesses must allow service animals into public areas and may only ask the patient if the dog is a service dog, and what tasks it performs.
The TJ Maxx manager’s actions clearly violated that, and after investigating the incident, and getting a lot of righteous rage in the media, the company has issued an apology.
From their official statement:
We are taking this customer matter very seriously. Customers with disabilities who are accompanied by their service animals are welcome in our stores at any time. We have looked into the particulars regarding this customer’s experience and deeply regret that our procedures were not appropriately followed in this instance. We are taking actions which we believe are appropriate, including working with our stores to reinforce the acceptance of service animals.
Celeste also gave the store manager an earful. “She said, ‘I’m sorry.’ And I said, ‘That’s not good enough. You should have known,’” Celeste said. “You just made someone with an emotional disorder so much worse.”
Do you think the TJ Maxx company apology is enough, or should this store manager be fired? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]