My friend Steve Cunningham is blind. He is also one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. Although Steve lost his sight at the age of 12, he is the holder of not just one, but three world records: achieving the record for fastest blind man on land (in a racing car); on water (in a powerboat); and in the air (he was the first blind man to fly a plane around the UK).
So you can imagine just how angry I was last week, when I offered to take Steve out to lunch at a well-known hotel in Marlow, only to be told that the restaurant did not accept dogs – not even guide dogs – and that we could eat on the terrace (it was raining) or in the bar (we wanted a meal, not a snack). In the end, we went to Danesfield House nearby, which gave us an excellent meal and even offered Steve’s dog, Lynton, a (non alcoholic) drink as well.
This experience was new to me but Steve tells me there is a shockingly high degree of ignorance of the Disability Act among employers and the public in general. The more we can all do to raise awareness and “spread the word”, the better. So here are three points to remember:
1. Restaurants: Under the Disability Discrimination Act, it clearly states it is acceptable for a guide dog to be in a restaurant. Environmental Health has sanctioned this, and all guide-dog owners carry a card that details this to the restaurant owner. The Act also states that these establishments should make suitable adjustments to accommodate a visually-impaired person. This should include attitude – a simple adjustment that costs nothing.
Share this story