Store’s wheelchair ban ‘unacceptable’
An Auckland business association says a shop owner kicking a man out of his store for being in a wheelchair is absolutely unacceptable.
Imtiaz Aziz was shopping in O¯ ta¯ huhu, South Auckland, with his sister on Tuesday morning when he went into Bes Mart to look at T-shirts.
Aziz said the male shop owner walked over to him, pointed towards the door and asked him to leave.
He was left feeling embarrassed and saddened by the ordeal and made a complaint to the Human Rights Commission.
O¯ ta¯huhu town manager Richette Rodger condemned the shop owner’s decision to kick out Aziz. Although it has not as yet, the association and its board decided they would make verbal and written contact with the owners.
Rodger said they would tell the shop owners that their actions were ‘‘absolutely unacceptable’’.
‘‘It’s not by any means the customer service we expect out of our businesses for our town centre,’’ Rodger said.
‘‘It’s not the reputation we want, [that we are] fighting to get, for our town.’’
Rodger said the business association had shared the story on its Facebook page and publicly apologised to Aziz on behalf of O¯ ta¯ huhu.
‘‘[We] also just reiterated to everybody on social media that we don’t condone that and we don’t in any way think that was good behaviour. It’s disgusting.’’
Rodger said she had never come across anything similar in the past but overcrowding of shops was ‘‘definitely’’ an issue.
‘‘It’s an issue that we regularly work with council and the fire department with in regards to overcrowding of shops for the disabled, but also just for people with pushchairs, anybody.’’
CCS Disability Action chief executive David Matthews said the incident showed an ‘‘appalling attitude’’ from one human being to another.
He said it was a human right for people to be able to access stores in their community and get around them.
Matthews said Aziz had been treated ‘‘very, very badly’’ and it was surprising that ‘‘someone running a commercial business would be happy to exclude people in wheelchairs and people with other mobility aids’’.
The shop owners said on Wednesday, through another staff member who translated, they had asked Aziz to leave because his wheelchair was ‘‘too big’’ for their store.
Another wheelchair user had stolen from their shop recently and the female shop owner ‘‘doesn’t want those people to come’’, the staff member said.
Imtiaz Aziz, with his sister Fareen Nisha, was told to leave a store in Auckland.