Fallout for diner grows after veteran, service dog denied

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August 27, 2013, 6:16 pm
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(NECN: Katelyn Tivnan) - It's no surprise conversations at this Oxford, Mass. coffee shop surround recent controversy at nearby Big I's diner.

Over the weekend, the eatery's owner kicked out veteran James Glaser and his service dog.

The story has spread around town and beyond.

“You got someone with a service dog,” said Air Force veteran Ron McGrath. “Legal, you should have accepted him and not made a big deal out of it. Now he's being very belligerent about it so he gets what he deserves.”

After the Iraq veteran was kicked out of Big I's for bringing his service dog inside, he posted it to Facebook.

The post already has more than 20,000 shares and is still growing.

Veterans like McGrath think the owner's lack of an apology has earned him all the bad publicity.

Now Glaser and supporters are planning a rally and asking others to boycott the diner.

“Good, good for them. They should,” said Oxford resident Demetrios Barakilis.

The phone at Big I's has not stopped ringing since Monday morning.

Employees tell us many callers are swearing, hanging up, some even threatening to burn the diner down.

Online review sites like Yelp have comments pouring in from across the country, most telling would-be customers to stay away.

“He should have just ate it and just apologized. It's going to hurt him,” said McGrath.

“I have a lot of respect for vets, but then again, the owner owns the place,” said Arnold Allaire, who supports the diner. “He has the right to say what goes.”

The diner says some regulars have said the controversy won't keep them from eating there. But some customers say this is all the reason they need to bring their business elsewhere.

“I would. Totally. Because what he did was wrong, he shouldn't have done that,” said Barakilis.

Tags: massachusetts, Worcester, Worcester News Tonight, Katelyn Tivnan, Oxford, Yelp, Big I's, James Glaser, Ron McGrath, Demetrios Barakilis, Arnold Allaire, Russell Ireland
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