Skip to content

Sainsbury’s manager tries to kick blind man with guide dog out store

The manager even threatened to call the police, Keith Valentine says (Picture: Triangle News)

A Sainsbury’s manager tried to kick a blind man out, wrongly claiming his guide dog wasn’t allowed inside the store.

Keith Valentine, 55, says he was ‘shaking and totally miserable’ after being told to leave ‘immediately’ by the staff member – who reportedly even threatened to call the police.

He stood his ground and was eventually told: ‘The rules have all changed recently, so I’ll let you off’.

But the dad-of-one now feels ‘unsafe’ returning to the Wapping store in east London, which is part of a route his guide dog Dottie is specifically trained to take him on.

The incident unraveled when Keith – who is the Chief Executive of charity, Fight for Sight – popped in to pick up food for dinner with his daughter.

Three Sainsbury’s workers soon appeared next to him, with the manager saying: ‘You have to leave the store immediately, guide dogs are not allowed in Sainsbury’s stores.’

Keith says he has experienced similar situations before after suffering from retinitis pigmentosa for years – but ‘never as aggressively as this guy’.

After telling the manager that guide dogs were, in fact, allowed, the staff member responded claiming the animals were banned around food or inside restaurants.

TRIANGLE NEWS 0208 629 3622 // news@trianglenews.co.uk THE chief of a blind charity said he was almost kicked out of a Sainsbury???s store by an idiot manager who insisted his guide dog WASN???T allowed in .  Keith Valentine (Pictured with Dottie) chief exec of Fight for Sight, said he was left ???shaking???  and ???totally miserable???  after him, his daughter de el, and his four-year-old guide dog, Dottie, were told to leave.  But the trio stood their ground and insisted guide dogs WERE allowed in shops.  Dad-of-one Keith explained how the store - which is on his way home from work - is part of a route Dottie is specifically trained to take him on.  He now feels uncomfortable and can't be sure that it is safe for him to shop there, he said.  It can take up to five weeks to train up a support pup.  Keith, 55, told how he popped into the Wapping Dock Local store in East London to pick up a few extra bits for dinner on Monday evening.

The dad went shopping with his guide dog Dottie and his daughter (Picture: Triangle News)

TRIANGLE NEWS 0208 629 3622 // news@trianglenews.co.uk THE chief of a blind charity said he was almost kicked out of a Sainsbury???s store by an idiot manager who insisted his guide dog WASN???T allowed in .  Keith Valentine (Pictured with Dottie) chief exec of Fight for Sight, said he was left ???shaking???  and ???totally miserable???  after him, his daughter de el, and his four-year-old guide dog, Dottie, were told to leave.  But the trio stood their ground and insisted guide dogs WERE allowed in shops.  Dad-of-one Keith explained how the store - which is on his way home from work - is part of a route Dottie is specifically trained to take him on.  He now feels uncomfortable and can't be sure that it is safe for him to shop there, he said.  It can take up to five weeks to train up a support pup.  Keith, 55, told how he popped into the Wapping Dock Local store in East London to pick up a few extra bits for dinner on Monday evening.

He was ‘shaking and totally miserable’ after the incident (Picture: Triangle News)

The Equality Act 2010 says disabled people have the same rights to services such as accommodation, restaurants, pubs and cafes as everyone else.

Keith says he kept repeating ‘I will not leave the shop, I have a right to be here, I have a guide dog’ after the manager wouldn’t believe his daughter when she read out the law straight from her phone.

His daughter, who doesn’t want to be named, was recently diagnosed with the same condition and will eventually also lose her sight.

‘It was quite tough for me to have to see her witness this, it could be a glimpse of what she has to face in the future,’ Keith said.

‘I was just speaking very clearly because I wanted the other people around us to hear. We didn’t feel safe in that situation.’

The situation escalated, with the manager allegedly asking staff to ‘put the cameras’ on the group and warning he could call the police.

But Keith carried on shopping with Dottie – and then stood waiting for an apology.

Noting that it takes up to five weeks to train a support dog, Keith added: ‘I just thought if we left the store now I’d never be able to use it again. It’s the shop on my trained route.

TRIANGLE NEWS 0208 629 3622 // news@trianglenews.co.uk THE chief of a blind charity said he was almost kicked out of a Sainsbury???s store by an idiot manager who insisted his guide dog WASN???T allowed in .  Keith Valentine (Pictured with Dottie) chief exec of Fight for Sight, said he was left ???shaking???  and ???totally miserable???  after him, his daughter de el, and his four-year-old guide dog, Dottie, were told to leave.  But the trio stood their ground and insisted guide dogs WERE allowed in shops.  Dad-of-one Keith explained how the store - which is on his way home from work - is part of a route Dottie is specifically trained to take him on.  He now feels uncomfortable and can't be sure that it is safe for him to shop there, he said.  It can take up to five weeks to train up a support pup.  Keith, 55, told how he popped into the Wapping Dock Local store in East London to pick up a few extra bits for dinner on Monday evening.

Keith is Chief Executive of Fight for Sight, a charity funding research into the prevention and treatment of blindness and eye disease (Picture: Triangle News)

‘The manager came back and said ‘the rules have all changed recently, so I’ll let you off’. I just thought “you’ve got to be joking”.

‘I was actually shaking. When I came out I was just miserable. It’s a horrible feeling.’

A formal complaint has been submitted to Sainsbury’s by Keith, who has since received an apology.

An email from Sainsbury’s to him said: ‘I understand how upsetting this would have been, I do hope you are okay.

‘I would like to confirm, as stated on our website, assistant dogs are absolutely welcome in our stores and petrol stations.

‘I will be contacting the stores management team to highlight the concerns you experienced. Please be assured we have taken this seriously and appropriate action will be taken. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.’

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson added: ‘We are in touch with Keith to apologise. We have a clear policy which welcomes guide dogs into our stores and we are investigating his experience of him and reminding all colleagues of our policy.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.