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Colorado Soldier And Service Dog Turned Away At Chicago Restaurant

(CBS) -- Major Diggs Brown spent more than 30 years in the Army. When he returned from Afghanistan, he suffered from PTSD, so for two-and-a-half years, his service dog Arthur has been by his side.

"He does a lot of things. He wakes me up from nightmares when I have them. When I have anxiety attacks, he calms me down. He saved my life and I'm even off the drugs," said Major Diggs.

But when he was in Chicago for the weekend and tried to sit down for breakfast at Cochon Volant, 100 West Monroe St., he was met with a surprising response.

"When my service dog and I walked in, the hostess took us to the table, and the young lady named Hannah, she said you can't have a dog in the restaurant," Brown said. "I kept my cool and I said you know it's the American Disabilities Act. This is my service dog, he can go wherever I go, it's the law. So I was seated, placed my order then Hannah came over again and said I have to leave. I said it's my service dog and she said I don't care, you need to leave, we don't have dogs in the restaurant. I could go to the Department of Justice with this if we continue down this path."


Brown says he left, a little humiliated, and went to the airport and went back home to Fort Collins, Colorado.

"When I got home, I posted to my Facebook page, this is what happened to me and it went viral," said Brown. "The manager of the restaurant then called me personally and then emailed me apologizing."

The restaurant posted on its Facebook page that the incident was not a true representation of company policy and it has begun an immediate internal review of protocol, training of staff and ADA regulations. It also is making a donation to Puppies Behind Bars where his dog was trained.

Brown says he's never been asked to leave before because of his service dog. He says he holds no hard feelings.

"It's not my intent to destroy a restaurant but it is my intent to make them aware that they have violated a law that not only affects veterans with dogs, but other people with disabilities with service laws and that they need to be aware that it's discrimination."

Arthur has been by Major Brown's side for two-and-a-half years. .(Credit: Major Diggs Brown.)

Brown says he's happy with the resolution.

"They've stepped up to the plate and they are going to make some changes at the restaurant so I'm happy in my mind that it is resolved."

As for the employee who told him to leave, the manager of Cochon Volant didn't return phone calls.

"I really hope this young lady isn't fired for this, she just needed to be educated. That's the restaurant's discretion."

A similar incident happened inside a Houlihan's Restaurant in Algonquin. The manager who turned away a soldier and his service dog there was fired.

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