Kim Symonds shoot
Kim Symonds shoot

ROLL OUT: Man reports store for ‘blatant discrimination’

A Townsville man with a disability has blasted a local grocery store for what he claims was discrimination which left him "embarrassed, upset and humiliated".

Kim Symonds suffers from severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a chronic inflammatory lung condition, as well as PTSD.

COPD can block a person's airways and make it difficult to breathe.

Mr Symonds is on a full disability pension through the Department of Social Security because of his condition and he is a client of the NDIS.

The 56-year-old is unable to walk far and is bound to a mobility scooter.

He has a service dog, Mr Chuckles, who has been by his side for five years.

He claims he has always had both when shopping and it's never been a problem, until he rolled into IGA Mundingburra for the second time.

"I entered the store and I did my shopping as usual," Mr Symonds said.

"A staff member approached me in the store.

"(The employee) proceeded to tell me I was not allowed to have my mobility scooter in the store.

Kim Symonds with his service dog Mr Chuckles outside the Mundingburra IGA. Picture: Evan Morgan
Kim Symonds with his service dog Mr Chuckles outside the Mundingburra IGA. Picture: Evan Morgan

"Their reasoning for making me leave the store was they said that they had seen me hopping off my scooter to stand to reach groceries.

"(The employee) said that registered road vehicles are not allowed in the store.

"I then proceeded to tell them that you are not allowed to drive them on the road."

The employee is then alleged to have said Mr Chuckles was not allowed in the store either.

"I pointed out my dog was a service dog and has a service jacket," Mr Symonds said.

"(The employee) then said they did not like my attitude and said 'I have been told you have to leave the store'.

"I said to (the employee) this is blatant discrimination and they can't throw me out because I have a service dog and I am disabled.

"I told (the employee) that I was going to make a complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Board," he said.

Kim Symonds with his service dog Mr Chuckles outside the Mundingburra IGA. Picture: Evan Morgan
Kim Symonds with his service dog Mr Chuckles outside the Mundingburra IGA. Picture: Evan Morgan

"(The employee) then threatened if I didn't leave the store immediately they were going to call the police and have me forcibly removed.

"At the time there were other shoppers in the store who could hear (the employee) telling me to leave.

"I felt, embarrassed, upset, angry, humiliated, intimidated and discriminated against.

"I had never experienced this before anywhere in public."

Mr Symonds was unable to complete his shopping and went to the registers to purchase what he had.

He's made a formal complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Board.

IGA has been contacted for comment.

Originally published as ROLL OUT: Man reports store for 'blatant discrimination'


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