OXFORD, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) — The owner of Big I's diner in Oxford apologized in front of hundreds of people Saturday for turning away an Iraq war veteran and service dog from his restaurant.
James Glaser, the veteran who was turned away, attended the rally with his dog, Jack. A week after the confrontation that sparked a firestorm, Glaser and Russell Ireland are at peace. The two hugged and stood as a united front Saturday, exactly one week after the two had a run-in at the diner.
It was last Saturday when Ireland booted Glaser and Jack out of the restaurant. Glaser, who served 21 years in the Air Force, suffers from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and takes Jack everywhere with him. He told FOX 25 earlier this week that Jack is trained to calm him down anytime he has an episode.
This Saturday, about 300 veterans showed up at Greenbriar Park in Oxford for a PTSD awareness rally. It was there Ireland apologized for kicking Glaser and Jack out.
"I stand here in front of you embarrassed, ashamed, and I just ask for some forgiveness, that's all," Ireland said.
Ireland said he wasn't educated about PTSD and overreacted.
"I never realized what a mistake I made," he said. "The information about post-traumatic stress and the situation of these vets needs to be addressed. Education needs to be brought out about this so people will know how to react."
Now, both Glaser and Ireland say they want to use this as a learning experience to teach others about PTSD and the rights of those with service dogs.
"I would like to do anything I can to educate other people about this problem and I'm going to start with my staff in my own restaurant," said Ireland.
"In my book, we've already succeeded," said Glaser. "We've gotten one business to change their mind on PTSD and he's gonna pass it on."
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