FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - An Army vet was turned away from a Florence Verizon store for having his service dog.
US Army Vet Curtis Frye says things as simple as going out in public are tough, so his service dog Nick never leaves his side. But Frye says there was one place in the Pee Dee his dog couldn't go, even though a store sign said otherwise.
More than halfway through the long drive from Boston to Florida, Curtis Frye and his friends had to make a quick stop in Florence. The US Army veteran's iPhone had been acting up, so Frye dropped by the Verizon store off David H McLeod Blvd.
Frye battles PTSD and anxiety from his 20 years of service, so as always he brought his service dog Nick with him. "It's very hard for me to get out in public, which is one of the reasons I have a service dog," said Frye via a Facetime interview. "It gets me interacting with the public and gives me that courage to get out there again," he said.
Frye says he knows where he can and can't bring Nick, and even saw a sign on the door saying service dogs welcome. He went inside, and waited to be helped.
After a few minutes he says a manager approached him and made a shocking request. "Hey sir you have to leave the store, and I'm like, excuse me?" Frye said. "You have to leave the store, and I'm like, why? Well you can't have that dog in here, and I'm like, well he's my service dog," Frye added.
Frye admits he argued back with the manager but says he's proud of how he handled the situation. He showed him the sign on the front door, and tried to reason with the man.
Frye says the manager eventually threatened to call the police, so he left before things got too out of hand. "It was just unbelievably embarrassing, humiliating, and just degrading, to be treated that way," he said.
We reached out to Verizon and were given this statement.
"We deeply regret that one of our employees misunderstood our policy towards service animals and that this misunderstanding resulted in a negative experience for our customer. We have ensured all employees know that service animals are welcome in our retail locations and eagerly look forward to serving any and all customers who come to our stores."
Frye says at this point he has retained a lawyer and is deciding where to go from here. He is still a Verizon customer.
Frye tells us it was tough to come forward, but he felt it was important. He says he wants to make sure no other veteran has to face a similar situation in the future.