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Old 01-09-2007, 06:25 PM   #1
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Is This Discrimination?

According to the lawyer quoted it is. When they say their first priority is safety, do they really mean protecting themselves against lawsuits if accidents happen? This man is a customer, what about customer rights and satisfaction- and what about the ADA and the law? I think Mr.Hayes is right, most people don't understand. Well now that it's all over the news I'm sure Dunkin Donuts will have a quick change of heart.


By Jay Fitzgerald
Boston Herald General Economics Reporter
Tuesday, January 9



A wheelchair-bound Weymouth man suffering from multiple sclerosis says he’s being denied his right to a hot cup of coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts.
Donald Hayes said he’s bought coffee before by driving his motorized wheelchair up to the drive-up window at a Dunkin’ Donuts shop in the middle of a Weymouth shopping-market parking lot.
But now, that Dunkin’ store, which has no inside seating and only serves drive-up customers, has told him he can’t use the window anymore and refused him service, citing traffic safety concerns.
“It’s discrimination,” said Hayes, 54, who says he’s an ordained minister with an online following.
Hayes said he’s thinking of taking legal action if he can’t whirl up to the window to get his java.
“I’m just defending my rights,” Hayes said. “I’m not looking for monetary compensation.”
A Boston lawyer who specializes in employment and discrimination law said Dunkin’ Donuts better listen to him, based on case law.
“I think they have a problem,” said Laura Studen, a senior partner at Burns & Levinson. “It’s a public place - and it needs to be accessible.”
And a motorized wheelchair is a motorized vehicle, she said.
A spokesman for Canton-based Dunkin’ Donuts said the giant chain doesn’t have a corporate policy regarding the use of wheelchairs at drive-throughs.
But he added: “Our number one priority is the safety of our customers. Our franchisee’s objective in this particular instance is to protect customers from potential injury in a traffic accident.”
Weymouth police Chief James Thomas said Dunkin’ Donuts’ safety concerns are valid, according to The Patriot Ledger of Quincy.
Hayes, who lives about three miles away from the shopping plaza, gets to the Dunkin’ Donuts via an MBTA van, which picks him up at his home. The van won’t go through the drive-up window to fetch coffee on behalf of riders, he said.
Hayes rejected the notion that he should go to a Dunkin’ Donuts across the busy street that has in-store service. “People don’t understand the problems faced by the disabled,” he said.
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Old 01-09-2007, 07:00 PM   #2
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Only serves up drive up customers? That's a limited customer base.

Well as long as they deny bike riders and walkups then I see no discrimination.
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Old 01-09-2007, 07:05 PM   #3
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ADA??


ADA says he should be treated like a walking person. His chair is not a car.


He should just go across the street.



He can't go through a car wash, either.

Just because he would like a quick rinse off.
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Old 01-09-2007, 07:28 PM   #4
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He should go across the street to the store which offers in-store service. If there are significant barriers to getting across the street (such as no ramps, etc.) then he should push for those barriers to be altered so he (and others) can cross.

I also think that a person in a wheelchair is considered a pedestrian, not a vehicle, so if a walking pedestrian wouldn't be served, neither should he. Most drive throughs I've seen do not serve people on bicycles or on foot. I just found this which is from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles and it does not appear to me that his wheelchair fits the definition of a motor vehicle.
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Old 01-09-2007, 07:34 PM   #5
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I have a friend who used to ride her horse through McDonalds drive-through with no problems at all.


Carparks and driveways are not registered roads, so in that regard they cannot claim he has no place in the drive-through, as well his wheelchair is not a registered vehicle. We can assume from the article that they deny foot pedestrians as well? Either way, I am sure the insurance policy of the shop covers the road and immediate vicinity and therefore leaves a giant liability hole. I'd say it's not discrimination, but if there is precedent then they're going to have a battle.
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Old 01-09-2007, 07:56 PM   #6
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A horse in the drive-through? Now that I've never seen! (well, I don't think horses are allowed in this city without special permits)

Tough call.

There's a woman in my parent's neighborhood who uses a wheelchair in the street all the time. Now, I really have nothing against this, since in the past I've biked in the street and run in the street, but I swear this woman has a death wish. She goes out at dawn regardless of the weather, like 6am, with no flag, reflectors, or light of any kind on her chair, and drives down the middle of the street. This is west Michigan, so 8 months of the year it's either snowing, raining, foggy, or just plain gray. I can't tell you how many times we've almost hit her, backing out of the driveway. Cars have headlights so we can see them when it's raining, snowing, dark, or foggy. Cars are required to use these lights and take precaution. Even bicycles are required to have a certain number of reflectors on them.

Honestly I'd have no problem with the guy going through the drive-through, but if he wants the chair to be considered a vehicle, he should be sure to put a flag or some reflectors or both on it. A car has certain things for safety and visibility; the chair should too. Even as a pedestrian on foot I keep reflective patches on my coats and shoes. You can't have it both ways.
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Old 01-09-2007, 07:59 PM   #7
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I recall serving two people on horseback in the drivethru at DQ back in my younger years.
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Old 01-09-2007, 08:48 PM   #8
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Absolutely agree with deep here. If pedestrians can't walk up to a drive-thru window, then he shouldn't be able to either.

The coffee place is liable if he is hit by a car accidentally while inside their drive-thru line, so they have every right to refuse him service.
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Old 01-09-2007, 11:15 PM   #9
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Dunkin Donuts should cater to him and give him their phone number,he can call his order in then wait out front away from the drive through.At least this way DD can say they tried to accomodate him.
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Old 01-09-2007, 11:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by u2fan628
Dunkin Donuts should cater to him and give him their phone number,he can call his order in then wait out front away from the drive through.At least this way DD can say they tried to accomodate him.
That's called 'customer service' and 'a practical solution'. Do businesses these days practice that much? I'm going to guess this fellow is not up for that. He sounds awfully determined to wheel himself through as any other vehicle. Maybe he has a chip on his shoulder.
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Old 01-10-2007, 12:04 AM   #11
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dunkin donuts coffee tastes like ass. i'd be more pissed that they were serving me ass in a cup than i would for not letting me use a drive thru.
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Old 01-10-2007, 02:25 AM   #12
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Re: Is This Discrimination?

It's not discrimination at all! A wheelchair is not a road vehicle, he would have to go elsewhere for a cuppa , like everbody else that is not in a car
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Old 01-10-2007, 08:30 AM   #13
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Well that lawyer says that a motorized wheelchair is a motorized vehicle under the law. I don't agree that he should just go to another Dunkin Donuts-we all can go to whatever DD or Starbucks or whatever that we choose, so why shouldn't he have that same freedom?
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Old 01-10-2007, 08:34 AM   #14
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If he's driving a motorized vehicle wouldn't that make him subject to all sorts of other rules such as obeying traffic rules, wearing a helmet or seatbelt? He could just make things a lot worse for himself by causing this stink.
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Old 01-10-2007, 08:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dwight Schrute
If he's driving a motorized vehicle wouldn't that make him subject to all sorts of other rules such as obeying traffic rules, wearing a helmet or seatbelt? He could just make things a lot worse for himself by causing this stink.
Yeah, according to the info I found (and linked to in my earlier post) if it's a motorized vehicle he needs turn and stop lights and he needs to wear a helmut. From the picture he doesn't have either.

Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Well that lawyer says that a motorized wheelchair is a motorized vehicle under the law. I don't agree that he should just go to another Dunkin Donuts-we all can go to whatever DD or Starbucks or whatever that we choose, so why shouldn't he have that same freedom?
In the Massachusetts General Laws - Motor Vehicle Certificates of Title - Chapter 90d, Section 1 the definition of a motor vehicle or vehicles is:

(the bold is mine)

Quote:
“Motor vehicles” or “Vehicles”, all vehicles constructed and designed for propulsion by power other than muscular power including such vehicles when pulled or towed by another motor vehicle, except railroad and railway cars, vehicles operated by the system known as trolley motor or trackless trolley under chapter one hundred and sixty-three or section ten of chapter five hundred and forty-four of the acts of nineteen hundred and forty-seven, vehicles running only upon rails or tracks, vehicles used for other purposes than the transportation of property and incapable of being driven at a speed exceeding twelve miles per hour and which are used exclusively for the building, repair and maintenance of highways or designed especially for use elsewhere than on the travelled part of ways, wheelchairs owned and operated by invalids and vehicles which are operated or guided by a person on foot.
Looks to me as if wheelchairs are specifically excluded as motor vehicles and they are also excluded as motorized scooters in that section. The wheelchair is designed to give a person unable to walk mobility similar to a walking person.

If you or I or anyone else walked up to that drive through window (and many drive through windows throughout this country) we would not be served either.
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