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hooters denies access to service animals

246565_10151019454575407_507882642_n_1_thumb By beverly | July 21, 2012 | Comments (69)

THIS IS THE LETTER I SENT TO HOOTERS. IT WILL EXPLAIN WHAT THEY DID TO ME JUNE 23, 2012. BOYCOTT HOOTERS!  HOOTERS, 3541 Truxel Rd, Sacramento, CA 95834 916-929-9464 MGR name: keesmo

this is beverly, the person with disability (PWD) who experienced the appalling incident with "keesmo" at your truxel location. started raising his voice saying NEED YOUR PAPERS. of course, since this isn't nazi germany, i had no idea to what he was referring. so i asked him.. "pardon me?" he then raised his voice more and appeared to be angry and said "I NEED TO SEE YOUR PAPERS FOR YOUR DOG".

i said, "i don't have to show you any papers and it's against the law to ask." he then proceeded to tell me that anyone can put a vest on a dog and accuse me of being fraudulent with my service dog.

let me tell you something. i have had this dog for 5 years. he has saved my life time after time and i do NOT have to explain ANYTHING to your company nor your thug employee. PERIOD. i told him that i volunteer as a service dog advocate in my county and gave him a card with the ADA service dog laws and their 800 number and he wadded it up and THREW IT! really? THIS is who you want representing your company? because i have a phone call in to several local tv stations who are interested in covering this ridiculous behaviour.

the only way to stop it, is to expose the violators of my civil rights. and, since mr. keesmo liked to brag to me how he NEVER lets service dogs in because people don't have "their papers", i realize that this is NOT the first incident at this store and i am led to believe any if not all of your stores, as well.

this man is a bigot. he is prejudiced against PWDs and is only too happy to brag about it. that is shameful and breaks california penal code 365.5 through 365.7 as well as the federal americans with disabilities act.

your first fine through the DEPT OF JUSTICE will be 55,000.00 if hooters has never been cited for violating the ADA before. your second fine is 110,000.00 and so on. then there are punitive damages, bad publicity, court ordered training for your staff, company wide and so on. since i tried to explain the law to him and he belittled me over and over and even called attention to me and tried to get the people at the table nearest the hostess stand involved, i will be filing a federal complaint.

i had called 911 because i was so afraid. he was so aggressive, that even when my husband, who was clearly upset at being called a liar, went outside, keesmo got a large black man to come with him and then he hit (keesmo hit) the door so hard, running after my husband, that he broke the security bar on your door and it hit the ground. he then had the audacity to scream YOU BROKE MY DOOR, when my husband was 15 feet away from the door. really? you hire ex cons or felons or simply gang members to manage your stores? his bringing this large man was clearly racially motivated and shows his intent to possibly harm my husband. because once he went outside, he kept sarcastically saying "your a real nice guy" to my husband, trying to goad him on. i was still indoors, on the phone with the police and i couldn't hear the 911 operator because keesmo was yelling so loud.

seriously. this is how you train your employees? and it is HOOTERS responsibility to train him properly. this is why you will be fined and not him. by the way. i can still have him arrested under california penal code for violating my civil rights under the statutes i referred to previously. they will come to his work, arrest him and he will be taken before a judge and have to pay a fine and possibly serve jail time. the ONLY reason i didn't stay and wait for the police (you can find my phone calls to 911 and the the non emergency police number on record) is because i was sick. too sick to go through this ridiculous interrogation, aggression and accusations. i was humiliated to the point of panic. by the time i left, i was in tears and it takes a lot to make me cry.

a huge concern i have was his body language and gang speak. he repeatedly accused me of "disrespecting" him. i asked him how so? and his reply was because you told me you don't have to show me any papers. well......... i don't. he broke the law and if he's so overly concerned with being "disrespected" perhaps he should not be working with the public. he repeated it over and over with gang type language and then when he burst out the door with the large man and was screaming to my husband, "you disrespected me" i was afraid. i mean it. in my head i was thinking "omg, he's going to shoot or otherwise harm my husband". especially with his "body guard" standing watch. seriously? this is how hooters trains its MANAGERS to act?

my husband asked the other man if he even knew why he was out there and he said no. he seemed to be soft spoken and confused as to what was going on....so the "disrespect" and possible altercation was in keesmo's head. my husband is an IT engineer for the largest medical non profit on the west coast. we are not idiots nor are we gang bangers. we are educated, smart and easy going. but sadly, we live in an area that has a lot of gang activity, so we recognize those qualities and speech patterns when we see them. as a paralegal, i have seen more things than i ever wanted to in my life. and since i have interviewed all kinds of people, i know how to calmly get my point across, which is what i did with keesmo. he was the angry one. i had an answer to each and everyone of his accusations and it obviously "disrespected" him and made him angry. too bad. all i did was point out the law and try to educate him on the ADA even though that's your job, not mine. he wasn't having it.

when i went back inside to get my cane, he was trash talking us to your customers, the staff and so on. when he saw me he rushed back to the door to berate me some more and this time he had an evil little smirk on his face. he then proceeded to point to the people at the table nearest me and try to bring them in on this. i am disabled. it is a FEDERAL violation to draw attention to that or belittle me because of it. keesmo didn't care. all he wanted to do was "win". how sad.

then he proceeded to say, "well i believe your dog is a real service dog because you didn't back down." wait. this was a contest? to see if i would stick to my guns before i could be seated? how appalling and insulting! then he also bragged again about running off PWD with dogs because they don't carry "their papers".

he admitted that maybe i was right about not needing papers to carry with us but insisted that "even though the law says i don't have to, HE thinks i should and so should everyone else with a service dog" "to avoid this problem in the future". i have to laugh. so all this hassle and me giving him the law and explaining to him how he had broken it over and over meant nothing. because in keesmo's mind, keesmo can make up his own laws and isn't intimidated or can't be bothered with the truth or actual laws. and during these last moments of our conversation, when i was trying to explain to him how he was opening himself up to being arrested and fined and costing your company a lot of money, he rolled his eyes, smirked and said he could afford it.

ok then. so be it. he doesn't care if you get sued or he gets arrested as long as he gets to run off disabled people. while i was talking, he kept screaming at me and interrupting me. i finally said, look, i have 6 children and you are probably young enough to be one of mine. will you please let me finish my sentence before you start talking? he rolled his eyes once again and smirked. he then stated he was 36 years old and knew a lot. i have no idea what that had to do with anything but i let him finish his arrogant rant. when he was done, i said, may i speak now? so i explained to him that i was actually trying to help him as well as other disabled people who may try to come to hooters with a service dog.

all he did was interrupt me more and say "well last week someone came in and i know it wasn't a service dog...blah blahblah blah" i told him "that has NOTHING to do with me and if you doubt they have a service dog and that they are lying, call the police and report them." there are stiff penalties for "fakers", too. and i have reported fakers myself! it makes it difficult for those of us who need our dogs when others lie. but i digress.

to interrogate me for 30 minutes, berate and belittle me, try to start a fight with my husband, humiliate me in front of staff and the entire restaurant and cause me to have to wait too long to eat is not only in violation of many laws, but just plain inhumane. why would one human being want to treat another so poorly? did he feel like he was proving something to all those beautiful ladies? or the clientele? did it make him feel big because he humiliated me in front of all those people? does being a bully come within his job description?

when he told me he "believed" my dog was "real" because i stood my ground, it made me want to vomit. i told him, "how many people with "real" service dogs do you think you have run off, simply because they didn't want the confrontation and don't even know what you are talking about when you ask for "papers"? he just smirked. i don't find it remotely amusing, myself. and i told him the reason i did stick to my guns was because of all those other disabled people out there that have PTSD, or have been humiliated by him or simply don't have the health to put up with his embarrassing behaviour.

i reminded him that i am an advocate. i don't even think he knows what that means. i help people with access issues so how hypocritical would it have been for me to simply walk away? the only reason i left is because my husband saw me getting sicker and sicker and made me leave. i even told keesmo, i was trying real hard not to pass out and if i did, not to touch me. he didn't even offer me a glass of water. didn't even care that i was fading fast. THIS IS HOW YOU TRAIN YOUR PEOPLE? actions like what i experienced in your restaurant is why people with disabilities (PWD) don't go anywhere very often. would you?

if you never knew if someone would attack you at a restaurant or interrogate you, would you want to go anywhere? what if i was in a wheelchair (which i am many times because of an illness) and he started to ask me for my papers to prove that i needed that chair. like he said anyone can put a vest on a dog "anyone can sit in a wheelchair". my dog's vest is a service dog vest, but the law doesn't require him to wear one. it's clearly marked as to avoid issues such as this. it was apparently a waste of money. and just so you know, there are NO papers required of service dogs. i suppose if you have a program trained dog, they have a little certificate for you to hang on your wall, but there is no "paper" required.

i personally have my dog registered with my county and he has a service dog tag. it cost me 55.00 and is not required on any level. my dog has to be licensed just like a pet. but service animals are NOT pets. i don't have to pay a deposit when i rent a place to live, he flies with me free of charge, the airlines have to seat me in bulkhead to accommodate his size, i ride trains, buses, ferries, all for free.

if someone kills or harms a service dog, it's a 10,000.00 fine, last time i checked. so it's serious! my dog is allowed places where humans can be turned away. he has federal rights that humans do not have. you can tell a human to leave a business but not a service dog unless he's acting up. even if he barks in your establishment, and it's because he's warning me that i am in trouble, you cannot make him leave. he must be well trained and behave properly. he is. he is my lifeline.

so just like you wouldn't turn away a wheelchair (i hope) or someone using oxygen, you cannot turn away a service animal. oh one more thing keesmo said. he told me he's even turned away blind people with fake canes. having him as an employee is going to get you sued. he REALLY questions blind people as to if they are really needing their white canes? and how does he know they aren't blind. does he hold up fingers and ask how many? WHY DOES HE WORK FOR YOU? when he said that to me, i was speechless. honestly, i couldn't think of anything to say in reply. who does he think he is? fake blind people.... wow. i am in a community for people with service animals and other disabled people.

i have already relayed my experience to them. each of them has their own community and this story will spread like wildfire. i also have other newsletters and accounts and will warn PWD not to bother coming too hooters as they are not PWD friendly. and for my blind friends... well, i guess they will have to have a note from their physician if they want to come inside. i cannot explain to you how sick this makes me feel. it is a violation of our civil rights and just as bad as any other hate crime. it's bigoted and unacceptable. i intend to do everything in my power to make sure it never happens again and i would hope you would, too.


Update: July 21, 2012.  it's been almost one month and i have yet to hear anything back from hooters. they acknowledged they got my email and then silence. please boycott this restaurant and if you can, let your friends know of my plight. i am filing a title III complaint against them as was suggested by the DISABILITY ADVOCACY GROUP OF CALIFORNIA.


Feb 22, 2013.  We have been contacted by  DEPT OF JUSTICE and have agreed to try mediation.  I received my packet in Jan. of 2013.  OBVIOUSLY, we have a case and the DOJ feels it's necessary to punish HOOTERS.  i will keep you informed.

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Comments on this Article

so what happened with your case
I have read what this lady and her husband was put through by the manager of Hooters. , and the fact that she has still not recieved a statement as to what they are doing about the manager.It seems that according to what the lady wrote , that this manager needs to be taught that he was out of order .Is it the company who gives training to its staff? if so why hasnt the manager been trainedin customer care? After all he should be aware that people with that have dissiabilities dont allways look abnormal.the company needs to look at its training and get it right.
Umm, this infighting is convoluting the real issue, folks. So how is the doggie doing?
fri aug 17 '12 so cool that Hooters fired that pos!!!!!!!! my words lol "" THAT U WERE PROVEN RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "" Did they offer any compensation??? - an apology? DOJ = dept of justice? Congratulations!!!! nancy Vancouver Canada
I get this sort of crap quite often with my Guide Dog, Cool. People out there can be so stupid and callous at times. Yes, there are a lot of buisness owners who are truly nieve of the law concerning Service Animals, but I also belive there are some out there that just do not care. Cool and I have been denied access to stores and restraunts in our time, but if they do, I calmly mark them down on my "Crap" llst, and never try to spend money there again, as there are plenty of other stores, restraunts, and buisnessess out there that are more than happy to take my money. Sometimes, you can do much better offering a carrot than a stick. If not, screw them. They just don't get my money.
@john kral, being raised in that culture, i know what is and isn't being done for intimidation. there were TONS of of other employees and the restaurant was crowded. the mgr has been fired because his actions were all on camera. apparently my statements were proven to be true and were not acceptable by his employers. i give them that, however, this very SAME behaviour has been going on with hooters in other states as well. apparently they do NOT understand the ADA, nor do they properly train their employees. regardless of race, colour, religion or what not, this manager's actions were condescending, not only to us, the customer, but to his employee as well. my email to hooters was to point that out but also let them know that the "involuntary body guard" was at no fault. i felt sorry for him, because he seemed very uncomfortable. talk about a hostile work environment! and the verbiage used toward us was also very threatening. perhaps not transferable in the written word, but tone and volume speak... well.. volumes. :) at any rate, the DOJ is only interested in his breaking the law and nothing else. NOTHING. they only have one client and that is the USA. they defend folks who have been disallowed access where others are allowed. and that is the only point they care about. anything else has nothing to do with my complaint. if i had gotten hysterical and screamed and cried and flipped out and was arrested for disturbing the peace, it would have ZERO influence on my case. one has nothing to do with the other. and, no, i didn't flip...i never raised my voice because i was so sick at this point i was trying to stay conscious. i fainted after we left. :(
hi beverly i didn't mean any offense. you never wrote that the manager was black in this letter, only this other man. why would him being black intimidate you? i was not writing to judge you but there are a lot of judgements you make in this letter. i think for people with disabilities they dont want to be judged just like other black people dont want to be judged. i grew up in a bad neighborhood but i can also hold a job and would be sad if someone was intimidated by my presence. Its funny becasue my dog is also black i think maybe we would have doubly scared you! joking. was there other men at the restaurant? if not then i think this other man may have been the only one there. the big point here is you were treated unfairly.
Mon Aug 6 '12 NOT TRYING TO TIRADE!!! JUST STATING FACTS! I have wanted to share THAT I DID !!! send 2 emails 1) to senator harkin who co authored "the disabililty act" & "hooters " I have not heard from EITHER .... It seems Sarah is a bully Vancouver Canada
@john kral. first of all, re-read my statement. i said the mgr was black and brought a large black man out front to intimidate us. the larger man was unaware of why he was even there. it was RACIST of his manager to try to use him to intimidate us. the lady that raised me was a black lady and i am half native american. how dare you. it was racism against his own people that blew me away. colour does NOT intimidate me, at all. never has, never will.
Wow beverly that is awful. i hope that your letter gets that manager fired! i feel the worst for your dog, he must have been very scared, especially when the door broke. You seem really angry, there are some very racist things in your letter. i think I know what you mean, maybe he was talking to you rudely, but this large black man seems nice. i think when you send this to hooters that they will also use racism against your case if it goes to court, ive seen it happen with another friend of mine when he argued with a manager at mcdonalds...I wish you luck!
Wed Aug 1 '12 Remember what this site is for !! the sharing of information & moral support!!!! Vancouver Canada
It never ceases to amaze me that when someone writes an article or tells a story, instead of commenting on the issue at hand, everyone starts fussing at each other, turning the story around so it's about them and their issues. How a person's grammar, story line and story go is not going to change by another's comments on the blog. What really gets me is when you all start fighting amongst yourselves and completely get off the story, period. This lady has a mental disability. Oftentimes, it doesn't help to correct their writing skills on a blog, it just hurts their feelings more. She has an issue with Hooters. She's explaining an event to the corporation. Her truth is not your truth. Try looking at it that way.
She has already stated that surgery after a stroke, among other ailments hinder her from writing as well as she would otherwise be capable of. Is she to surrender her independence by asking for help to write a letter? Just because it isn't written as well as you would like, doesn't make it any less valid. She is a person with a disability, this does not make her dependent on others - there are many with no 'disability' who could not make such a coherent point. I will not comment further on this matter as I'm beginning to realise you are belligerent in your ideas. I will simply say that whatever happened to you Beverley and however it turns out, your letter was more than comprehensible, you do not sound like you are on drugs and had I been in your position I may have taken more violent action both verbally and physically, having been through the trials you have in life. You come across as I would imagine, angry, frustrated and seeking justice for yourself and others that may face the same. You may not have worded yourself perfectly in hindsight but shock, horror - people with disabilities sometimes get mad and act a little crazy too!!! Good luck with it all, I hope lessons are learned.
p.s 'you're' is the contraction of 'you are', 'your' has ownership of the following noun. Your sentence is illegible... are you on drugs?
You are so gracious, Sarah. It's good to know that ignorant, insulting bullies don't just manage branches of Hooters.
Thanks Sarah for being our guiding moral compass and our shining beacon of truth. We really needed your insults to feel validated and beneath you. I bet it felt really good to be treated so rudely with your mom and walk away without knowing you made things any better for the next person. No one is asking you to believe Beverly's story, and if you don't, just don't; none of us were there. It's up to the justice system to make that call, and if they agree with her, justice will prevail. Your asinine comments and judgment calls are tantamount to the harassment that Beverly described in her story.
@Sarah, before you talk you should read from beginning to end and you will understand. If you don't, you need to check your reading comprehension skills and put your foot in your mouth. Beverly explicitly states, in her first sentence, that she has a disability. She also states that she tried, calmly, to explain why she shouldn't have to show papers to this clearly rude employee who was unwilling to believe she required her service dog. She didn't start screaming and flailing around like you make it sound. The manager told her stories about how he's always doubted PWD who come with service dogs, and even turned away a blind person with a cane, not believing he was blind. Furthermore, Beverly stated that she adapted her writing to the e.e. cummings style after she had double hand surgery and a stroke. Obviously she wrote it in the heat of passion and anger, which is understandable, and I'm sorry you can't put your big head aside to read her story for what it is. She got two responses already from Hooters, but neither have rectified the situation. You don't have to be a rocket scientist or a middle school drop out to understand what she's saying and the point she was trying to make. And lastly, for you to accuse her of being "on the look-out for these types of situations to occur" and that she sounds like she's on drugs... Seriously? Do you think she was asking for your approval? Stop being a bully and show some respect.
my writing makes me appear to be on drugs? hmmm... well, sarah, i am not "on drugs" but thanks for continuing the hatred and becoming one of the people whose discrimination i face, daily. the law is still on my side and i,frankly, don't care what you think nor am i concerned with your insults. you just showed the kind of person YOU are.
@Sarah- alright Sarah you just did what your complain about what she did. you just said she look she was drugs writing this shame on you. you got nothing nice to say don't say anything at all. People who write and are anger at the time things come out the wrong way the letter is fine i got the idea of it. anyone with brain can figure it out
I am not American, so I can't speak of whats legal or not in the States,but I am a human being and i've been a business owner for many years. Beverly the way you were treated by a substandard chain restaurant is absolutely appalling! I can't believe the treatment you received not to mention your husband being chased out by a bouncer....If Hooters doesn't terminate this man for the injustices that occurred to you,your husband and your service dog, then I think all Hooters, be it in the US or any other country should be boycotted till this is rectified. No one with a service dog should ever,ever be denied such simple rights that the rest of us take for granted. I applaud you for your courage and determination, know you have a Canadian supporter.
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