Lucy Edwards is a freelance journalist and TikTok star that brings awareness to what it’s like to live as a blind person.
According to BBC, Edwards has Incontinentia Pigmenti, which caused her to lose sight in her right eye at age 11 and her left eye at the age of 17.
She started vlogging after people kept asking her how she goes about performing everyday tasks and wanted to let people know that she was “competent and capable.”
She recently went viral after she videotaped an incident where she was denied entry into a restaurant because she was accompanied by her seeing-eye dog.
“Unfortunately, guide dog refusals are a common thing and discrimination against blind people and their assistance animals has to be stopped. I’m uploading this to spread awareness in the hope that one day things will change,” she explains.
At some point during the argument with the staff at a Yo! Sushi in London, Edwards discretely switched her camera on so she could record the conversation.
“How does a blind girl get rejected from Yo! Sushi for having a guide dog?” she writes on screen at the beginning of the video.
She then claimed that the restaurant employee was “a lot more aggressive towards me” before she started recording.
Basically, what happened was that the employee told her she couldn’t bring the dog in.
Either the employee clearly wasn’t aware of the fact that guide dogs are legally allowed in restaurants or he knew and still didn’t want to allow the dog into the restaurant because he was discriminating against Edwards’ blindness, the dog, or both.
“I’m telling you this dog is not allowed OK,” the employee tells her again.
She threatens to call the police and is clearly upset that she has to be inconvenienced when she’s just trying to live her life and get a bite to eat. To Edwards, she is being intentionally discriminated against.
Eventually, a manager comes out and explains to the employee, after some argument between the three of them, that he is misinformed. He then invites Edwards and her dog into the restaurant.
“You are not allowed to refuse a dog in the United Kingdom, are you listening to me?” she asks them.
Edwards wasn’t satisfied with the result of the misunderstanding and being allowed to enter the restaurant. She demanded that the employees apologize to her for causing her distress and “discriminating against a blind woman.”
“I want you to say, ‘I”m sorry,’” she tells them.
She then further demands that they never refuse another guide dog again.
We then hear the employee mention that she started recording him earlier before Edwards started to secretly record instead of blatantly doing so.
“I was recording because it was my right to take you to the police and actually sue you. This is illegal what you’re doing to me right now,” she tells them.
They again tell her she is welcome in the restaurant. But she tells them that she is now upset and gets emotional. This causes the manager to profusely apologize and offer her a seat at a table.
” Do you think I actually want to eat in your restaurant?” she tells them.
She doesn’t, so she leaves but not without telling them that she is reporting them and that the police will be arriving soon.
They again apologize to her and try to invite her in but she just tells them to read the law and that they are never going to do this to someone again.
Whether they intentionally refused to let her in because she was blind and they didn’t want a dog in their restaurant or the employee honestly didn’t know the law and experienced a communication barrier is unknown. Yo! Sushi said it was the latter.
“One of our colleagues made a mistake, and of course guide dogs are welcome in all of our restaurants. Creating an inclusive environment for all of our customers and team is important to us and this incident does not reflect our values,” Yo! Sushi told The U.S. Sun.
The company said that they will be reviewing their policies and interactions so that none of their guests “are made to feel this way in the future.” They even invited Lucy’s input on building awareness and shaping their training process.
Clearly, more businesses need to be made aware of these laws so that those who do need guide dogs won’t have to suffer the inconvenience and embarrassment that Edwards was put through.
You can check out the video of the incident below.
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