Man says he was asked to leave restaurant because of his wheelchair, owner disputes claim

Posted at 8:58 AM, Sep 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-26 08:58:57-04

YUBA CITY, Calif.  -A man bound to a wheelchair says a cafe owner asked him to leave the restaurant because he would be in the way, but the owner says it’s a little more complicated than that, according to KTXL.

Francisco Velasco says this past Saturday morning he joined his brother and some others for breakfast at Sundowner cafe in Yuba City.

He says he showed up a little after the others arrived, but his brother told the hostess that a man in a wheelchair would be joining them.

When Velasco got there, he got to his table, but he says it got very awkward very fast.

"The owner comes up to me and leans in and tells me 'Is there anyway you can get off your chair?' I said 'Excuse me?' she was like 'Can you get out of your chair? If not, you're going to have to leave,'" Velasco said.

The issue was that Velasco was blocking a fire lane, according to the owner, which Velasco says he understood.

"For her to do that to me in front of a diner,  it was pretty embarrassing," he said.

Velasco has been in a wheelchair for exactly a year now after being hit by a drunken driver last year in Fresno, which caused him to have his legs amputated.

Jacqueline Rossie has been the owner of Sundowner Cafe for 27 years, she admits she asked Velasco if he could get out of his chair before he became clearly upset and left, she adds him leaving right away didn't give her an opportunity to switch tables with another group of customers.

"I said 'You can't sit here, can you get in a seat?' and he says 'Well, we'll just leave' not giving me the opportunity to sit him someplace else," Rossi said.

Velasco says he won't be back to the establishment.

Rossi tells FOX40 she wouldn't have stayed in business for nearly three decades if she treated her customers unfairly.