Two friends have spoken of their shock after being turned away from a Indian restaurant in Chesterfield because they are blind.
Liam Kemble-Young, 27, and Kyle Jones, 25, from Mastin Moor, went to Zahid Indian, on Chatsworth Road, on March 24 following a recommendation from a friend, but when they asked for a table they were turned away because the restaurant was upstairs.
Liam, who has been blind since birth and uses a cane, said: “We asked the member of staff for a table for two. He started talking to the manager and came back and said ‘the manager doesn’t want to serve you because we have stairs. He said ‘Sorry, we are not going to serve you.
“I have stairs at home and it has never been a issue.”
He said he believed what they did was illegal.
“They didn’t want to take any responsibility. I have never experienced anything like this before. I asked to speak to the manager but they said I couldn’t.”
Kyle, who had come to visit Liam from London, said it was ‘ludicrous’.
He said: “I live in a first floor flat and got here on the train and London underground. I have never been refused service anywhere because there are stairs. There was no feasible reason for that to happen. I have no problem getting up stairs at all.”
Shipon Rahman, a member of staff at the restaurant, told the Derbyshire Times that the men were turned away for their own safety because the restaurant is upstairs. He said: “If anything goes wrong we would get the blame for it. If they had a guide with them that would have been fine.”
When asked if this was the first time they had turned people away who were blind he said it was. He said ‘if they came in with a guide it would not be a problem, but if anything goes wrong we would get the blame so it’s a risk for us.”
Hugh Huddy, RNIB Policy Manager, said: “It is against the law to refuse a blind or partially sighted person service in a restaurant or pub just because they have sight loss.
“Blind and partially sighted people are best placed to decide what is accessible to them and what isn’t, rather than other people making these decisions for them. Under the Equality Act employers can be held responsible if their staff unlawfully discriminate against a customer.”