Security Guard Tells Woman to Put Autistic Brother on a Leash

leashHow's this for a story that will make you want to shake someone? A woman says she was grocery shopping with her 26-year-old autistic brother when a security guard told her she needed to put her brother "on a leash" because he'd been snacking from the hot food bar.

On a leash, huh? How about that security guard get down on all fours and be forced to drink water from a bowl for his bad behavior?


After all, if we're going to treat human beings like dogs, we might as well use this punishment for the ones who really screw up. And we could add the lady who hogs the whole aisle with her cart, that drunk guy buying his 40 who leers at you for daring to have boobs ... oh, and hey, that jerk who always manages to run his cart into the back of your feet.

Oh, but no one would say that about those jerks, would they? It's the backward attitude too many have about the differently-abled that prompted this one.

The incident at a Milwaukee Whole Foods store involving a guard employed by a private security firm has incensed the autism community, upsetting families who have found themselves in shoes similar to Emily Goldman's all too often. Goldman says she tried to apologize and explain that her brother Michael is autistic and immediately offered to pay for the food he'd eaten. But she says the guard wasn't having it:

They told me he needed to get out of the store and not come back unless he was on a leash.

Considering autism occurs in 1 in 88 kids these days, it's not like she was talking about some obscure disease that sounded like a bad excuse for bad behavior. Here we have a man who has a disability who could really use some human compassion! But in the same society where people still use the word "retard" as an insult, a security guard decided an autistic man needs a leash.

Oh, America. We can do better!

Whole Foods, for its part, has come out to say the guard was wrong and is making staff go through training on how to better handle these sort of situations. But until people as a whole stop treating the handicapped like they're animals, this is going to just keep happening.

How do you think this conversation SHOULD have gone down?


Image via davefayram/Flickr

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