Hotel Ejects Blind Woman Over Guide Dog

by Kevin Burton

    If I ever go back to London, I know where I am not staying.

   The Premier Inn in North London ejected a blind woman, her partner and her guide dog, saying the woman “didn’t look blind,” according to published reports.   

   My information comes from reporter Jessica Frank-Keyes, writing on

     “A blind woman and her guide dog were thrown out of a north London Premier Inn after staff claimed she “didn’t look blind. Angharad Paget-Jones, 29, a data analyst from Port Talbot, south Wales, visited London for Bonfire Night on Nov. 5 with her partner and guide dog, Tudor.”

   “But her trip took a shocking turn when staff spotted her assistance animal and – refusing to believe he was a guide dog – turfed Angharad’s group out of her room,” Frank-Keyes wrote.

   “And it came just hours after a similar experience in a Starbucks coffee shop – when a staff member shouted ‘no dogs’ at her, despite Tudor wearing a guide dog branded lead.”

   “Paget-Jones, a disability activist, even recently appeared in a Guide Dogs campaign aiming to stop visually impaired people being refused access to services because of their guide dogs.

 “Like other guide dog owners I am no stranger to access refusals and I recently experienced two refusals in one weekend, with one being the worst I have ever had,” Paget-Jones said.

   “After arriving at the Premier Inn hotel, in Enfield, Paget-Jones took her medication, which often makes her feel tired, and at 10 pm her partner took Tudor outside with his guide dog lead on.

   “Staff on reception then asked him for proof he was a guide dog and Paget-Jones said staff then entered her room, asking to see her documents, before security threw her out of the hotel.”

   “They wouldn’t drop it and came up to the room and disturbing me as I was half asleep,” she said. “No one was telling me what was going on, [and] I asked for a manager to help resolve the situation.”

   “I closed the door for my own modesty as I was just in a T-shirt and underwear, but the staff continued to demand evidence that Tudor was a guide dog,” Paget-Jones said.

   Security was then called to her room, Paget-Jones said. “Staff used a master key to open the door, barging in demanding proof Tudor was a guide dog.”

   “I showed them the yellow book which outlines a guide dog and Tudor’s harness has guide dog branding on, but they said this wasn’t sufficient evidence and told us to leave.

   “My partner ended up called the police, but they did nothing, and we got thrown out. It was late at night on Bonfire Night, and I am scared of fireworks. It was terrifying to then be outside in the dark as a blind person in a place I didn’t know.”

   She added: “The staff were yelling at me, saying no dogs was the policy and that Tudor looked like a fake guide dog.

   “I felt discriminated against, harassed and as though my privacy had been invaded.”

   The couple went to stay with Paget-Jones’s partner’s parents – but she suffered a panic attack later that night, and said: “Days later I’m still impacted walking down the street thinking about what happened to me.”

   Premier Inn’s policy states pets are not allowed on the premises “with the exception of assistance dogs,” Frank-Keys reported. Of course by definition, guide dogs are not pets. So the letter and enforcement of the policy were both flawed.

   “We take the needs and equal treatment of all our guests extremely seriously and all team members receive disability awareness training to make sure our guests all get the same warm welcome and enjoy a great stay,” a Premier Inn spokesperson told the World.

   “We were shocked and appalled to see the upsetting Twitter thread alleging that a guest was asked to leave one of our hotels in Enfield.”

    “An urgent investigation is already underway with that site to find out exactly what’s happened and we’ve reached out to the Twitter user to fully understand the circumstances of what has taken place and apologize for the upset caused,” the Premier Inn spokesperson said.

   The World did not receive a response from Starbucks concerning the incident at its restaurant.

  In that incident, Paget-Jones went to use the bathroom at the Starbucks with Tudor and rejoined her partner at the counter.

   “He was about to pay when one of the staff members started yelling at me ‘no dogs,’” she said.  “I tried to ignore her as I knew she was breaking the law, but it always feels embarrassing to be singled out and feel everyone is looking at you.”

  “This one really shook me up,” Paget-Jones said, speaking of the hotel incident. “I feel so fragile and aware of how vulnerable I am. It made me feel ashamed of my disability for the first time. I’m scared of hotel stays now.”

    “I was discriminated against, bullied and had my privacy stripped from me. Fireworks night is a night of mental anguish for myself, any other disabled people and dogs! It’s one of the most horrific things I’ve ever had to go through.”

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