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Store manager assaults caregiver, trashes food

On 10/26/09 I brought my dad - he turned 92 last week, has Alzheimer's, heart problems, and is legally blind with macular degeneration -...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Store manager assaults caregiver, trashes food

On 10/26/09 I brought my dad - he turned 92 last week, has Alzheimer's, heart problems, and is legally blind with macular degeneration - to the Columbia, South Carolina Earth Fare for lunch, and in an effort to partially avoid the excessively cold temperatures in the store, I helped my dad - he can barely walk - to the small eating area that is sometimes used for meetings. It is slightly warmer in this area, and my dad was wearing a wool hat and a winter coat. We arrived at approximately 1:30 and there was a sign on the door that said the area would be unavailable at 2:00.

I have to secure my dad to a chair because he tends to try to stand up and usually falls, and because his skin is so fragile, falling always brings blood. As I was doing so, Earth Fare's manager, Mr. Garris Matthews, suddenly appeared, and with a belligerent demeanor informed me that the room would be unavailable at 2:00. I indicated that I understood, and made a dash to get my car parked. Because my dad can barely walk, I usually pull up to the entrance, help my dad to a table, then find a parking place and return to get our meals. We've been regular customers for quite some time, and Earth Fare's employees are well aware of my dad's condition and his sensitivity to cold temperatures.

When I returned and went to the food bar to get our meals, Earth Fare's manager suddenly appeared again, demanding that we get out of the afformentioned area. At that point, I explained to Mr. Matthews that my dad can't stand the colder temperatures in the other part of the store, and he responded by telling me that we couldn't eat at Earth Fare. He proceeded to jerk a hot plate of hot food out of my hand (Mr. Matthews is about twice my size), and then called the Columbia Police Department to have me and my dad removed from the premises. By the time the police arrived, I had obtained two additional plates of food because my dad needs a regular meal schedule coordinated with medications. My dad got a brief look at a plate of food, but never got to eat a single bite, and a total of three plates of food were wasted. The weather was chilly and damp, and my dad was forced to walk - under police escort - across the street to where I had my car parked. Mr. Matthews also directed the police to place me on notice of trespass. Instead of eating a hot meal on schedule, my dad wound up eating a hastily prepared salad after we got back home (we live on the other side of town).

Apparently, Earth Fare doesn't like elderly citizens.