This is a transcript of the complaint our CEO and Founder Parthenia Warford Richardson filed against Safeway grocery store Brandywine, Maryland to their headquarters on September 20, 2017.
I am a 20yr Army Retired Disabled Veteran and Permanently Disabled from working, as a result of some of my disabilities I have an Emotional Support Dog (3lb Yorkie Princess). I have a letter from medical professionals authorizing her to be with me at all times, and I've purchased a vest, and tags that clearly identity her as an Emotional Support Animal. To go a step further, I never allow her paws to touch any surface in any business, she's carried by me and away from open food.
Today I entered into the Brandywine Crossings Safeway location as I've done on many occasions with Princess to pickup a few items after a medical appointment nearby. As I entered the bakery area I noticed an African American man staring at me and Princess so I tried to ensure her vest was visible. Next thing I knew the man (who I've confirmed was acting store manager for today Emile) shouts in my direction "Ma'am ma'am you can't have that pet in the store!" I replied yes I can and tried to show him her clearly marked tags and vest. He then in his still elevated voice from across the aisle, "You need a letter" I said yes, I have one you need to see it? I presented the letter to him he mumbled something under his breath; I them let him know it's against the law to ask to see the letter. I further explained how he can ask if she's a service, emotional support animal and that's it. He offered no apologies, rather his attitude was worse than before he started talking with me. That exchange with him worsened my condition to the point that I put down all the items I was going to purchase and left the store. I will never shop in that Safeway again, I've also shared the story on my nonprofit organization website so that others know how to handle situations like this, the good and bad sides. Also as a Veteran I plan to post how I was treated by a major grocery chain, Thank God I have the Commissary to shop in for the rest of my life. They aren't perfect but they treat us right.