T.J. Maxx Told Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor To Leave Because of Her Service Dog

Sydney Corcoran, right, helps her mother, Celeste, across the Boston Marathon finish line on April 21, 2014.
Sydney Corcoran, right, helps her mother, Celeste, across the Boston Marathon finish line on April 21, 2014. –Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Marathon bombing survivor Sydney Corcoran was asked to leave a New Hampshire T.J. Maxx last Thursday because, she said, the store manager said her service dog was violating store policy.

Corcoran, 19, was shopping in a Nashua T.J. Maxx with her service dog, Koda. Koda, Corcoran told WCVB, has been her “support system’’ as she continues to deal with post traumatic stress disorder from last year’s attack. According to Corcoran, Koda was wearing a blue vest that said “service dog’’ on it, yet the manager told her he had to be put in a cart. When Corcoran told the manager that Koda would not fit in a cart, she said she was told he would have to leave the store.


According to the American Disabilities Act: “A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken.’’

Corcoran tweeted about the incident, saying she was “livid and embarrassed.’’ She also, WCVB said, called her mother, Celeste. Celeste, who lost both of her legs in the attacks, rushed over to the store and gave the manager a lesson in the American Disabilities Act, at which point the manager apologized.

Not good enough, Celeste said: “You should have known … You just made someone with an emotional disorder so much worse.’’

T.J. Maxx, which was one of the stores the Corcorans frequented as part of their “retail therapy’’ in a Boston Globe story last year, did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The store told WCVB: “We have looked into the particulars regarding this customer’s experience and deeply regret that our procedures were not appropriately followed in this instance. We are taking actions which we believe are appropriate, including working with our stores to reinforce the acceptance of service animals.’’

On the Corcorans’ Facebook page, Celeste wrote that she hopes the incident “will educate ignorant people about service dog laws and the rights that service dog owners have.’’

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