According to Fox, Baer traveled to Houston from San Antonio on behalf of the national organization Canine Companions for Independence. The group helped pair Baer with Verbena after Baer’s left leg was amputated from the knee down due to bone cancer, KHOU reported.
When Baer tried to enter the store with the dog, he was confronted by an employee.
“A gentleman from Starbucks meets me at the door and says I can’t have her in the store,” he said.
Baer explained Verbena was his service dog, but the employee apparently didn't believe him.
“He stated, you’re not blind,” Baer said. “It was in your face, loud and bold. I got really nervous. I was shaking because I was being confronted.”
The employee reportedly continued to confront Baer.
“I explained what all she does, and his next comment was, 'Why can’t you do that yourself,'” Baer added.
A customer in the store stood up for Baer, he said, and he was eventually able to explain the situation with another employee.
KHOU said the employee who confronted Baer apologized.
Starbucks corporate spokeswoman Laurel Harper issued a statement to KHOU regarding the incident.
“Starbucks always welcomes service animals to our stores, and this customer’s experience is not consistent with the welcoming and friendly environment we strive to create for everyone," Harper said. "We have spoken with this customer to apologize for his experience, and we hope to have the opportunity to serve him again. We have also spoken with our store partner about this situation and used this as a coaching opportunity for the future.”
A number of people expressed their anger with Starbucks on the company's Facebook page.
"Hey Starbucks, do any of your senior executives know what its like to serve in the military, or to have your leg amputated and be disabled?" one person asked.
Several said they would boycott Starbucks for hating veterans.
"Starbucks also refused to send care packages to the troops over seas and said they refuse to be associated with anything that has to do with the military," one person added. "But if it wasn't for our military they would not be in business or have the freedom they have!!! Every American patriot should boycott Starbucks and run them out of business!!!!!"
Baer says he has no hard feelings against Starbucks and hopes others learn that some disabilities are not immediately apparent. Baer said that had he been wearing shorts instead of long pants, his disability would have been obvious.
“Be careful about who you approach and how you approach it. You’ve got to be sensitive to people,” he said. “This isn’t acceptable. It can’t be acceptable.”
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