- The Washington Times - Monday, February 16, 2015

Verizon has apologized after a U.S. Army veteran says he was kicked out of a South Carolina store over his service dog.

Curtis Frye, who suffers with PTSD and anxiety from his 20 years of Army service, said he never leaves his house without his service dog, Nick. During a long drive from Boston to Florida for a Wounded Warrior event, Mr. Frye stopped at a Verizon store in Florence, South Carolina, to see about an iPhone that had been giving him issues, he told a local NBC affiliate.

Mr. Frye told the station that he walked his dog into the store confidently, noting a sign on the door that welcomed service animals. He said he was approached by a manager within minutes.

“‘Hey, sir, you have to leave the store,’ and I’m like, ‘excuse me?’” Mr. Frye recounted the manager telling him. “You have to leave the store, and I’m like, ‘Why?’ ‘Well, you can’t have that dog in here,’ and I’m like, ‘Well, he’s my service dog.’”

Mr. Frye admitted he got heated in the exchange and tried desperately to argue with the manager about the policy stated on the sign. He said the manager eventually threatened to call the police, which caused the veteran to leave to avoid further trouble.

“It was just unbelievably embarrassing, humiliating, and just degrading, to be treated that way,” he told the station.

The NBC affiliate notified Verizon of the veteran’s plight and received the following statement:

“We deeply regret that one of our employees misunderstood our policy towards service animals and that this misunderstanding resulted in a negative experience for our customer. We have ensured all employees know that service animals are welcome in our retail locations and eagerly look forward to serving any and all customers who come to our stores.”

Mr. Frye said he has a lawyer on retainer in case he decides to take further action. Most importantly, he says, he hopes his story can prevent anything similar from happening to other wounded vets, the station reported.

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