Disabled Veteran Rudely Confronted About Service Dog at Starbucks

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verbenaIgnorance about service dogs continues to cause issues for the people who depend on them. U.S. Army veteran Yancy Baer ran into problems at a Starbucks in Texas last week and wants people to share his story so more people are educated about service dogs and their rights.

Yancy Baer discovered he had bone cancer after receiving an injury in Iraq in 2009. He lost his left leg from the knee down. Several months ago Baer’s life changed for the better when he got his service dog Verbena through Canine Companions for Independence.

Last week Baer was travelling to Houston from San Antonio for Canine Companions for Independence and to share his experience with them. He went to a Starbucks for a meeting and quickly ran into trouble.

“A gentleman from Starbucks meets me at the door and says I can’t have her in the store,” said Baer.

Baer calmly explained to the employee that Verbena is a physical service dog and has the right to come into the Starbucks with him.

“He stated, you’re not blind,” said Baer. “It was in your face, loud and bold. I got really nervous, I was shaking because I was being confronted.”

Baer tried to explain what Verbena does, but was met with another rude and hurtful comment.

“I explained what all she does, and his next comment was, ‘Why can’t you do that yourself,’” Baer said.

Another customer tried to stand up for Baer, and eventually Baer was able to speak to another employee who listened to him and allowed him and Verbena into the store.

Baer wants his experience to be shared with as many people as possible so that it doesn’t happen to someone else.

“People with disabilities, you can’t always see those disabilities. You never know what a service dog is for,” said Baer. “Be careful who you approach and how you approach it. You’ve got to be sensitive to people. This isn’t acceptable. It can’t be acceptable.”

Baer says he doesn’t have any hard feelings towards Starbucks. He just wants more people to be educated about this issue.

Starbucks released the following statement in regards to the incident:

“Starbucks always welcomes service animals to our stores, and this customer’s experience is not consistent with the welcoming and friendly environment we strive to create for everyone. We have spoken with this customer to apologize for his experience, and we hope to have the opportunity to serve him again. We have also spoken with our store partner about this situation and used this as a coaching opportunity for the future.”

7 thoughts on “Disabled Veteran Rudely Confronted About Service Dog at Starbucks”

  1. I suspect that employee is now a former employee. Ignorance is no excuse for this behavior. Frankly, I’d be far more likely to frequent a place like Starbucks if there were a dog lying under every table or close by every seat. This country continues to be backward in so many ways.

  2. The way this was handled by the store employee was just cruel and insensitive, that employee should be fired! There are lots of disabilities that cannot be seen yet are debilitating! When are people going to get it….folks have service dogs for a reason! Yes they provide companionship but, they also do us a service too…..so disappointed in the human race 🙁

  3. Why is there always hind-sight vision from some companies? I’ve noticed this happening quite a bit lately. Service animals ARE ALWAYS welcome in the customer service industry and all it takes is one cretin to throw it askew! ANY COMPANY, and let me reiterate that, any company that disallows service animals is not a customer friendly place to spend your hard earned money!

  4. I have seen service dogs in Starbucks before, so obviously it is not company policy to keep them out. My guess is the local manager was responsible, if not for setting a local policy that barred the animal, then for not educating his employee about the rights of the disabled. I do agree that all dogs should be allowed provided they are well behaved, but that’s a matter of state law and I don’t know of any state or locality that allows animals inside an eating establishment. It’s a shame.


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