Blind customer kicked out of restaurant over guide dog; video goes viral

FILE-A guide dog walks down an aisle with its owner. Please note this isn't the man and guide dog from the story, this is only a file photo. (Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

A blind man alleges he was kicked out of a restaurant over his guide dog, and he shared the troubling incident in an Instagram video that’s getting a ton of traction on social media.

Paul Castle, a Seattle author and artist, detailed the alleged discrimination he faced in a May 7 Instagram video, which has millions of views, and didn’t name the restaurant where things unfolded. 

"I’m blind and I just got kicked out of a restaurant in Seattle. I walked in with my dog Mister Maple and immediately somebody rushed up to me and said ‘No pets allowed,’ ‘ Only service dogs.’ "I said it’s okay, he’s a service dog," Castle explained. "He looked at me, he looked at Maple and he said emotional support dog? No like a guide dog for the blind," Castle said. 

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In the video, Castle displayed the harness for his dog that he said was shown to the waiter at the restaurant and reiterated that he’s blind. The waiter responded to him saying, "You don’t look blind," according to Castle. 

"A lot of people in the blind community still have some functional vision. The waiter said to Castle, "You’re looking at me right," to which Castle replied yes, but it’s like I have a "pinhole of vision, and it’s all I can see."

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Castle claims the waiter asked him, "Do you see any other dogs in this restaurant?" Castle said he offered to bring paperwork to the waiter as proof that he was blind. Yet, Castle asserts the waiter told him if he returned to the restaurant, he would call the police. 

On May 9, Castle shared an update in a separate video on his Instagram page, explaining that he spoke to the manager about the incident. He said he didn’t want the waiter to lose his job and was forgiving and thankful he could use this experience to bring awareness to others. 

Castle’s incident brings attention to an apparent problem in society with blind people and service dogs. 

Guide Dogs for the Blind released a report in April where the organization conducted a rideshare survey among people who are blind or visually impaired, with more than 83% of respondents saying they have been refused service, with most sharing they were denied service multiple times when traveling with their guide dog.

This story was reported from Washington, D.C.