Bridal Store Kicks Out Woman With MS …And Her Service Dog, Too

by admin on August 7, 2009

The grandmother says she was kicked out of a store because of her service dog.

Neyo is a constant companion in Gloria Troutman’s life.

The 62-year-old grandmother relies on the service animal to get around, since she lost control of half her body from multiple sclerosis.

“He’s always right beside me, never leaves my side,” said Troutman.

But on a recent trip to Town East Mall, a store kicked her out, she says, because of her service animal.   Read rest of story here

When the story hits the news media, the owner of Isis Bridal and Formal store pens a letter of apology to, not Mrs. Troutman, but rather the reporter from WFAA-TV who broke the story.  But is it really an apology?  Most of what is written sounds like promotional material aimed at restoring the business’ reputation but what really sets it apart is the following sentence: 

We apologize if Ms. Troutman believes she was treated improperly. 

Hmmm, “We apologize *if*…”  Anytime an “if” is inserted into an apology, it almost always disqualifies it as a sincere apology.  There is no ownership of the offense but rather a subtle blameshifting back onto the offended party as if to almost suggest the offended person doesn’t have a legitmate complaint.   Mrs. Troutman may believe she was treated improperly but that doesn’t mean Mohamed Hafez, president and owner of Isis Bridal, believes she was so he qualifies his apology as conditional upon the perception of Mrs. Troutman.  

A sincere apology is one where the offender takes ownership of his/her offense, expresses regret with no qualifiers or caveats and does not, in any way, redirect the blame back onto the offended person.    It should have read, “We apologize for the inconvenience our staff has placed upon Mrs. Troutman and resolve to become more sensitive to the needs of individuals with service dogs.”

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Vicki August 18, 2009 at 12:15 am

The part I love in the full apology (as shown in the article on WFAA’s website) is the owner of the shop saying he would give the woman’s granddaughter a $50 credit on any merchandaise she buys at the store. Does he REALLY think that ANYONE in this family will ever patronize his store again?

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Celes August 18, 2009 at 12:54 pm

The store owner is very lucky he didn’t get into bigger trouble. From my understanding unless the dog is acting in a disruptive manner it’s against the law to deny access to a person with a service animal.

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Alexis August 27, 2009 at 6:25 pm

I find the signature amusing- ‘Sincerely’!?!
I ‘sincerely’ hope that they noticed a steep drop in business following the incident and the subsequent ‘apology’.

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Ling October 21, 2009 at 9:00 am

“The length of time we have been in business and the fact that we have many repeat customers for our gorgeous wedding gowns and formal attire show that we care about and value our customers and cater to their special needs.”
Sounds more like “haha, see how popular we are, she’s just petty, grumpy and stupid”.
If they have so many repeat customers for wedding gowns, that might indicate that they mostly cater to people unable to commit, people who marry again and again and again…
The whole “appology” sounds more like a sales pitch.

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MrsAdorkable March 26, 2010 at 11:06 pm

That is truly appalling.

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Broomstick88 June 18, 2010 at 10:27 am

I have a service animal that was hand selected as a puppy and trained to the highest of standards. i have ben refused by some many clothing stores i have to carry the ADA service animal rights folded up in my wallet. it’s beyond rude to ask someone to leave their service animal behind when they rel on them. unles that animal is causing a disturbance (shedding and allergies are not a qualified reason) they can’t ask you to go.

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Jellie June 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm

“As a good will gesture, we will give Ms. Troutman’s granddaughter a $50 credit on any merchandise she purchases.”

….If the granddaughter ever went back to that place(seeing how some believe in forgive and forget) to buy her wedding dress, unless their wedding dresses are only just hundreds of dollars, instead of thousands like most are, then that $50 credit ain’t gonna put a dent in anything. But if it were for eveyrthing she was buying, and the $50 credit was applied to all of the items she ever will buy then that may be a little better. But money doesn’t replace an actual appology.

I think the store took it upon itself and decided to ‘apologise’(EXTREAMLY 1/4th heartdedly) since the grandma said that she wont press charges, but will accept an apology. Where did Mohamed Hafez learn to apologise?

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badkitty August 12, 2010 at 4:11 pm

A friend of mine trains service dogs, and has for over 40 years; her dogs are much sought-after as exceptionally well-trained and dedicated. She has been told that she can’t bring a service dog into a store because “someone who is afraid or allergic might want to shop here.” These stores are promptly informed that this is illegal and then reported for the behavior. The store personnel could easily have made special arrangements to keep any goods from potential shedding damage, and their behavior smacks of ignorance.

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Autumn August 16, 2010 at 5:57 am

@ badkitty’s comment that her friend is told “someone who is afraid or allergic might want to shop here” – huh? What a thoroughly ridiculous comment. Someone using/training a service dog DOES want to shop, right then and there. I’m glad the law supports those in charge of service animals.

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Kaytie May 11, 2011 at 8:00 pm

As someone who does have a severe dog dander allergy, I must apologize for stores that use us as an excuse. In nearly 30 years I have happened to be in the same location as a service dog ONCE. And you know what? I left and came back to that store a couple of hours later. To me, it is so inconsequential that I was slightly inconvenienced ONCE, when people that need their service animals are often inconvenienced in multiple ways every single day.

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Javin October 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm

As someone who has created a non profit organization’s website (for free) that trains therapy dogs (not to be confused with service dogs) and someone whose soon to be MIL has severe MS, there’s a lot about this story that smells fishy to me.

The link is now dead, but a search for Gloria Troutman will pull it up elsewhere. Is this truly a service animal (with the accompanying required paperwork) or is this woman just used to toting her pet around with her, and using her MS and the “service animal” excuse to get her way when she takes her pet into places they otherwise would not be allowed? As “balance dogs” for those with MS are a fairly new thing, and Neyo is a “constant companion in this woman’s life” I am mildly suspicious that Neyo is anything more than her pet. The only reason the store would “apologize” in this case would be due to the stink being raised.

I also find it suspicious that the primary use of a “balance dog” for those with MS is to help them… balance. The woman in question was in a wheelchair. Sure, they are also trained to push elevator buttons, pick up dropped objects, and open specialized doors, but this is not their primary function. Having a debilitating disease does not give one carte blanche to abuse the “perks” designed for those who truly need them.

While it’s certainly possible that this animal is a fully trained and licensed service animal, and that the woman truly needs it, I find it suspicious that none of these details are even mentioned in the story.

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