Discrimination is Alive and Well

Without commentary, I will simply post the letter I just sent off to 6 on Your Side, minus my contact information.

 

Dear Ronda,

My name is David Johnson and I am legally blind. A few hours ago, I was asked to leave, ordered to leave the premisses of the Churches Chicken a few blocks from my house. I was using a magnifier app on my iPhone to read the overhead menu. I cannot read it otherwise. I was told by a worker that I could not take pictures of the menu, and was told to stop. I let her know I was not taking pictures or video. 

She got the manager who harshly reiterated that I had to stop what I was doing or leave. I explained that I was legally blind and using a magnifier to read the menu. I even tried to show him the working app so he could see for himself. He did not want to see it and angrily insisted that I need to get out of his store. I calmly, but firmly said, no. I continued to explain to him that I was blind and needed the assistive technology to order. He threatened to call the police if I didn’t leave. I told him where I would be sitting when the police arrived. He called. I waited. The police arrived.

I was first to speak to the officer when he got there. The manager came out and proceeded to make a big scene insisting that he wanted me out of the store. My friend and I went outside with the officer. My friend, Louise Everett, is also blind. We had an amiable chat with the officer, C. Bailey. He told us it would be best to take it up with corporate and not return to the restaurant. He was going to send us on our way. I requested that he write a report. He agreed. 

Louise and I were outside of the restaurant with the police officer for what seemed like about 30 minutes as he filled out the report. I have no problems with the way the officer handled the situation. As a person with a disability, I felt the tremendous weight of discrimination as my friend and I were publicly humiliated for no better reason than our disability. I know there are laws that should protect us, but laws offer no real protection from discrimination. I do not need a law. The ADA is sufficient. The law resides in a book, far away from the realities of a Churches Chicken, and personnel unfamiliar with the law. 

I am asking you to be the voice that I do not have. Shine a light in this dark corner of the city where the law does not reach. Thank you for any help you can provide.

David Johnson

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