KILL DEVIL HILLS -- Regina Randlett and her family paid a visit to the Outer Banks recently. It was a quick trip from their home outside Charlotte, one that had been going well until Sunday morning when they decided to grab breakfast at Burger King on South Croatan Highway.
They never had that breakfast.
"Puts her hands up: 'No! No dog!,'" recalled Randlett of the restaurant worker who, a moment earlier, was welcoming the family.
The dog was Kaleigh, a service dog that detects seizures in Randlett's 7-year-old daughter, Jordana.
When Jordana was 2, a dog attacked her, tearing off part of her head. She had reconstructive surgery to repair the damage, but the situation left her to experience panic attacks and seizures which she still has.
She and Kaleigh have been together for a couple years now.
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires a business to allow someone with a service animal into any area of the business where customers normally are allowed.
Randlett told 13News she attempted to explain that to the worker, trying to show her Kaleigh's card which identifies the dog as a service animal and contains the law, but the worker did not believe. Randlett said the worker yelled at the family, effectively chasing them from the restaurant.
"My 7-year-old is shaking, and she's freaking out. She's crying: 'Why won't they let me eat? Why won't they let my dog -- they don't like my dog. What's wrong with my Kaleigh? My Kaleigh, they won't let my Kaleigh in,' said Randlett. "Kaleigh is her lifeline. This is her protector. This is her second mother, and for someone to reject her because she suffers from a disability, I mean, that's like telling someone that, you know, 'Because you're blind, you can't shop at my store.'"
13News contacted the restaurant which is a franchised location and not owned by Burger King. Neither a manager nor the owner returned the phone call or acknowledged the message left with one of the workers there.
"I feel like there's a total lack of respect for the rules and regulations and for people with disabilities," Randlett said. "If we could get anything from Burger King or their company, it would be promise the people of America with disabilities that you will train your people better."