Guide dog. Gay dog. If someone says these with an Australian accent, it can be hard to hear the difference, especially if English is not the first language of one of the parties.
Linguistic nuance, and a clear lack of common sense, seems to have been behind a misunderstanding at the Thai Spice restaurant in Adelaide, Australia. A waiter there refused entry to Ian Jolly, his guide dog Nudge, and a female companion, because he thought the woman said they wanted to bring a “gay dog” into the restaurant.
“The staff genuinely believed that Nudge was an ordinary pet dog which had been desexed to become a gay dog,” the owners said in a statement to South Australia’s Equal Opportunity Tribunal, according to an AFP article.
On Friday the tribunal ordered the restaurant to pay Jolly $1,500 ($1,400 US), and to write him an apology for discriminating against him on the grounds of disability. Jolly says he’s happy with the outcome. “I just want to be like everybody else and be able to go out for dinner, to be left alone and just enjoy a meal.”