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Store Owner Sees The Light

Editor's Note: Adele Dubrofsky is an active member of AEBC's Montreal Chapter and in her local community. She co-runs a diabetic support group and also helps others cope with vision loss.

October 22, 2005--One year ago I decided to go shopping with my guide dog, Abba. The apples were too expensive at Metro, so we went next door to the fruit store.

Abba and I entered the fruit store and we went right down the aisle where the apples were kept, without realizing we were being watched by some clerk wearing a green uniform.

He approached us and said loudly in broken English, "NO DOGS ALLOWED IN THIS STORE. GET OUT."

I was so shocked that I turned around and asked him if he was talking to me. He repeated himself, again in a loud voice. I tried to explain to him that my dog is a service dog, that I am legally blind, and that she is my eyes. And you don't have to worry; she would not eat anything off your dirty floor!

Walking home, I could not believe what had just happened. I decided that I was not going to take this lying down--I was going to fight back.

I called the Quebec Human Rights Commission and told them my story. They were delighted since they had never had a case like mine before, and I was going to be their first blind client.

The Quebec Human Rights Commission called the fruit-store owner and sent him letters in English and in French, but they got no response. As a last resort, they decided to send someone who spoke his language to explain the situation and how much trouble he could be in.

One week later, I had to go back to make sure he understood. He was not a very happy camper. I walked around the store and he kept asking, "What else do you need?" and then hurried me right to the cash desk.

I called the Quebec Human Rights Commission and thanked them for a job well done.