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Community Outrage as Blind Man and His Guide Dog Denied Service at Seattle Restaurant

Written by: Russel Moneva
Russel Moneva, a Viral Content writer at iHeartDogs, finds joy in both crafting engaging content and pursuing his passion for basketball and fitness whenever he's not immersed in his work.Read more
| Published on June 15, 2024

In a recent disconcerting incident that has stirred significant public outcry and mobilized disability advocacy groups, Paul Castle, a blind man from Seattle, faced outright discrimination when he and his guide dog, Mr. Maple, were unceremoniously turned away from a local restaurant. This event has ignited a broader discussion concerning the treatment and rights of individuals with disabilities. Paul, who relies on his highly trained guide dog to navigate daily life, was shocked when a restaurant employee blatantly questioned the legitimacy of his disability and barred their entry.


Paul Castle, who resides in Seattle, depends on his loyal service dog, Mr. Maple, for mobility assistance. Mr. Maple, a specially trained guide dog, helps Paul navigate the world with confidence. Paul’s popular TikTok account, @matthewandpaul, features numerous videos that offer a glimpse into his life as a blind individual. The content is often lighthearted, showcasing humorous moments and the incredible bond between Paul and Mr. Maple. Many of these clips highlight Mr. Maple’s exceptional skills in guiding Paul through various situations, demonstrating the dog’s ability to ensure Paul’s safety and independence.

Despite the positive and uplifting nature of most of his videos, one recent upload took a serious turn as Paul recounted a distressing experience. In the video, he revealed that he had been ejected from a restaurant in Seattle. “I’m blind and I just got kicked out of a restaurant in Seattle,” Paul told his audience. He explained that upon entering the establishment with Mr. Maple, an employee immediately approached them and stated, “no pets, only service dogs.”

The employee then questioned whether Mr. Maple was an “emotional support dog,” despite the fact that Mr. Maple was wearing a harness clearly labeled “Guide Dogs for the Blind.” This harness should have immediately signified Mr. Maple’s role as a legitimate service dog. When Paul reiterated that he was blind, the employee skeptically responded, “you don’t look blind,” and claimed that Paul appeared to be looking directly at him. Paul then clarified that many blind individuals retain some degree of functional vision, though his own vision is extremely limited to a “pinhole of vision.”


This incident has sparked significant outrage among Paul’s followers, disability advocates, and dog lovers alike. Many commenters on Paul’s video were quick to point out that the employee’s actions were not only insensitive but likely illegal. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), businesses are required to allow service dogs to accompany their owners in all areas where the public is permitted. Denying entry to a service dog and casting doubt on a person’s disability are clear violations of this law.

The story quickly gained traction, with many people expressing their support for Paul and their frustration with the restaurant’s actions. Disability advocates emphasized the importance of educating businesses about the rights of individuals with disabilities and the critical role that service dogs play in their lives. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the discrimination and ignorance that people with disabilities can still face in their daily lives.

Following the incident, Paul reported that he received an apology from the employee involved, as well as a generous gift card to the restaurant. While Paul appreciated the gesture, he emphasized that his primary goal was to ensure that the restaurant learned a valuable lesson from the experience. He expressed hope that the staff would be better educated about the rights of individuals with disabilities and the necessity of service dogs.

Paul’s experience has resonated with many, sparking important conversations about the treatment of individuals with disabilities and the need for greater awareness and understanding. As his story continues to spread, it serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of compassion, respect, and legal compliance when interacting with people with disabilities and their service animals.

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