PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A widely shared social media video showed a confrontation at a Northeast Philadelphia restaurant. A man claims he was denied a drink because employees mistook his disease for drunkenness.
The man has ALS, which affects voluntary muscle movement and speech, but the restaurant says it wasn’t trying to discriminate and it has a legitimate reason for the denial.
“It’s very hard to go through all that,” Dan Hare said.
Hare has a lot of new in his life lately.
He’s newly married. The wedding happened back in May.
He and his wife recently bought their first house in Holmesburg.
And just last month, the 26-year-old was diagnosed with ALS.
Every day is a new challenge for Hare and his wife Bryanna.
“Just to get dressed, just to brush his teeth, just to walk up and down the steps is literally a struggle for him,” Bryanna Hare said.
So when Hare and his friends went to Las Margaritas in Holmesburg on Friday night, he thought he’d grab a few drinks.
Instead, he was denied service. The waiter thought Hare’s slurs were from him being drunk, even though he did not have any drinks that night.
“It made me feel very helpless and almost, you know, like I didn’t deserve to be out enjoying myself,” Hare said.
Hare’s friends backed him up and told the waiter about his condition.
The staff asked to see for proof, but Hare didn’t have any on him.
That’s when Hare’s wife came to the restaurant with a binder of medical papers. She was recorded shouting at the manager, describing Hare’s condition.
“You do not treat someone like that who’s handicapped,” Bryanna Hare said in the video.
The group eventually left the restaurant.
Las Margaritas’ owner thinks the Hares’ reaction was over the top. She added that her staff only denied serving Hare alcohol to protect the restaurant.
“They were very aggressive,” Vittoria Perez said. “If anything happens, we’re liable. We apologize if we hurt him in anyway feelings wise because if it was that he really has this disease, I feel bad.”
Still, Hare doesn’t plan on coming back.
“[For] someone can be treated like that, it’s horrible,” Bryanna Hare said.
Perez also says she hopes in the future the Hares carry some kind of proof showing his condition.
But the Hares want the restaurant to better train its staff.