Sydney Corcoran: TJ Maxx doesn’t want you, or your service dog. That’s the utterly disheartening message given by an unthinking boob of a manager at a TJ Maxx outlet store in Nashua, New Hampshire. Corcoran, a Boston Marathon bombing survivor who witnessed some of the worst moments of the April 15, 2013 bombing – including her mother’s legs being blown off – was kicked out of the TJ Maxx store over the weekend.
Reports USA Today: “Both the teen and her mother, Celeste, were injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. The Americans With Disabilities Act allows service dogs to accompany people wherever members of the public are allowed to go.”
While the store employee may not be familiar with the ins and outs of the Disability Act, the fact that the 19-year-old’s dog was wearing a bright blue vest with the words “Service Dog” written all over it should have been a clue. Sydney says the manager told her to put the dog inside of her shopping cart, or get out of the store.
“He’s crucial to my everyday life,” Sydney said. Her dog, “Koda,” assists her as she works to recover from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“He had on his service dog vest — bright blue, says 'service dog' all over it,” Sydney recounted. “The store manager came over to me and said to me, ‘If you want to keep your dog in the store, you have to put him in the carriage.’”
The manager of the store has since apologized, but to Sydney and Celeste, it’s not enough. It’s inexcusable, they say, for someone to be so grossly misinformed and unaware of an individual with special needs.
“(The manager) said, ‘I’m sorry.’ And I said, ‘That’s not good enough. You should have known,’” Celeste said. “You just made someone with an emotional disorder so much worse.” Celeste phoned up the store manager after her shaken teen called her and told her what happened.
In a statement released to the media, TJ Maxx said:
We have looked into the particulars regarding this customer's experience and deeply regret that our procedures were not appropriately followed in this instance.
“There are so many people with invisible, silent injuries,” Celeste said, adding that the public in general, but “ignorant people” in particular, “need to be aware that service animals are sometimes the individual’s lifeline.”
Sydney, who was in the news last year when she was named prom queen, is left dealing with yet another emotional setback.