McDonald’s regrets snub to blind woman

Time of article published Dec 29, 2011

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The managing director of McDonald’s South Africa has apologised to a blind woman who was chased out of one of the burger restaurants on Christmas Day because she had brought her guide dog inside.

Greg Solomon said he would see to it that the woman, 33-year-old Sanet Gouws, would be able to enjoy the experience that she should have had in the Pretoria restaurant in the first place.

“McDonald’s does allow guide dogs in our restaurants,” Solomon said.

“We regret this happened to the lady. On behalf of McDonald’s, I apologise sincerely to her,” he said.

Die Burger newspaper reported yesterday that Gouws, her mother Tienkels and her sister, Susan Botes, had been on their way to buy a milkshake at the McDonald’s outlet in Mayville.

Gouws was being guided by her two-year-old black Labrador, Grover.

“We ordered and Grover went to one side of the restaurant and sat down,” Tienkels said.

She told the newspaper that one of the workers at the restaurant became “fidgety” about the dog and called another woman who was outside cleaning the floor.

“The woman came inside and said it was against McDonald’s policy to allow dogs in the restaurant,” Tienkels was quoted as saying.

The more Tienkels and Botes tried to explain that Grover was a guide dog, the less it appeared the woman wanted to listen. According to Botes, they were told to drink their milkshakes outside.

“We would have, but there was no shade outside,” Botes said.

Grover had been wearing his special harness and tag to show he was a guide dog.

“It doesn’t help anymore to get angry. I just laugh about it,” said Sanet, who lives in Worcester, and had been visiting her family in Pretoria for Christmas. – Sapa

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