An incident caught attention on social media yesterday (13 Aug) after a Singaporean visually-impaired swimmer shared her experience at Kallang Wave Mall.
Being visually impaired, Sophie Soon brought her guide dog along to a Subway outlet in the mall. However, she was met with an unforeseen response from the restaurant staff.
In her Facebook post, she recalled that the Subway staff “refused to allow” her to enter the store. Not only that, but she also claimed that the staff “yelled” at her and “refused” to talk to her.
The 23-year-old swimmer mentioned that instead of dealing with her directly, the restaurant staff chose to talk to her friend.
The staff said that Subway is a Halal restaurant, and claimed that guide dogs are not supported by the Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS).
“Today, a server at Subway (Kallang Wave Mall) not only refused to allow me entry, but also refused to talk to me and yelled at me for trying to get him to talk to me instead of my friend.”
“He insisted that Subway is a Halal restaurant and guide dogs are not supported by MUIS (they are btw). Guys please share, this goes beyond being uneducated.”
In her Facebook post, Ms Soon attached two videos as evidence of how the Subway staff instructed her to leave the shop.
Regarding the staff’s rejection against the guide dog and him telling Ms Soon that guide dogs are not allowed in Halal restaurants, the MUIS had previously issued an advisory for guide dogs to enter Halal restaurants.
The advisory was cross-shared on Guide Dogs Singapore’s website on 17 May 2010, and it clarified that all Halal restaurants support the use of guide dogs.
“The Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura has issued an Advisory to all Halal Restaurants that supports the use of Guide Dogs. The Advisory clearly states that “Guide Dogs are the guiding eyes for people who cannot see” and that “Halal regulations do not prohibit the access of Guide Dogs”.”
Subway issued an apology to Ms Soon, said action will be taken against the staff
Earlier today, Ms Soon updated that Subway has “properly reached out” to her and apologised for the incident. The restaurant chain also assured her that actions will be taken against the staff who was rude to her.
She also shared a screenshot of a message by Subway Singapore’s Instagram page – who reached out to her last night.
The restaurant chain thanked Ms Soon for voicing out, adding that it is concerned by her experience. It also said that it will take this opportunity to educate its restaurant teams about guide dogs and ways they can support customers with disabilities.