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St Albans Bakery, Bread Shop, apologises after refusing blind woman's guide dog
A St Albans shop owner has apologised to a partially sighted woman after her guide dog was refused entry into his bakery last week.
Emma Handford was turned away from the Bread Shop in The Maltings on Tuesday, August 27 because she was accompanied by her guide dog Odene.
After vowing never to return to the bakery again, Ms Handford, who also has limited hearing, met with the shop’s managing director, Deniz Gul yesterday to resolve matters.
Mr Gul apologised on behalf of his manager and offered Ms Handford, 28, a hamper of Bread Shop products and Odene received a dog goodie bag.
Mr Gul said: “It was really nice to meet them.
“I think there is no doubt that there was distress caused and I am glad we met with Emma because she is regular customer.
“We will definitely see her back in the shop soon.
“This was an unfortunate incident and now we have reached a happy conclusion. Hopefully we can now build on this and move forward for the future, as well as raising awareness of the Guide Dog charity."
As well as the treats, Mr Gul will collect for the Guide Dogs UK charity in his six stores, emblazon guide dog stickers in store and train members of staff with a DVD explaining appropriate laws.
Under The Disability Discrimination Act guide dogs are now accepted in most public places, including shops and restaurants.
The NHS employee said: "It was an upsetting experience but Deniz has said sorry and accepts the manager was in the wrong, which I am pleased about.
"Although upsetting, at least I have raised awareness and now all his members of staff will be properly trained on the laws surrounding guide dogs.
"I wasn’t expecting a hamper of bread, a collection pot in store would have been enough. But I am pleased and I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t go in to the Bread shop anymore.
"Deniz was very nice and he petted Odene quite a bit, which he was pleased about.
"Fingers crossed it doesn’t happen again, but I am not so convinced. I will just do my best to raise awareness about the relevant laws.
In 2011 Ms Handford had a similar experience when Odene was refused entry from Nandos restaurant in Chequers Street.
The restaurant apologised by donating £200 to Guide Dogs UK.
Sue Rowen, community engagement manager, said: "Emma was asked to leave The Bread Shop by the shop manager who unfortunately did not appear to know the law about access for assistance dogs.
"Yesterday we met with Deniz to discuss ways Guide Dogs can work together with The Bread Shop Group to ensure this misunderstanding does not occur again.
"The outcome was very positive as can be seen from the smiles."
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