MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota man is suing McDonald’s after he says a manager told him he wasn’t welcome with his service dog.

Robert Mingo uses a wheelchair. His dog, a springer mix named Max, helps with everyday tasks. Mingo filed a discrimination lawsuit against the store.

Mingo’s relationship with Max is one with which many can identify.

“Man, I love this dog. I’d cry like a baby if anything happened to this dog,” Mingo said.

But their bond is more vital than most. His dog escorts him to restaurants and stores, helps him open doors and is trained to fetch his life alert alarm if there is an emergency.

About 10 years ago, he found out he had muscular dystrophy. Three and a half years ago, he got Max, who helps clear the way.

He says they both came to an impasse in August 2012 while trying to grab a meal at a north Minneapolis McDonald’s.

“The guy immediately came up to the counter and said, ‘No, you can’t come in here with the dog,'” Mingo said. “He wasn’t having it, so in my head I thought ‘I’ll just go around to the drive thru.'”

He says he rolled through the drive thru in his chair, only to be greeted by the same manager.

“He looked over said, ‘We don’t serve those things in here,'” he said. “Well, I don’t know, I was hoping he was thinking I was on a Segway or something because I’d hate to think he was talking about he won’t serve people in wheelchairs.”

Mingo says the manager eventually agreed to serve him, but it took him about nine months to get the courage to return. He says his next experience wasn’t much better.

“I said, ‘The law says I can be here.’ He said, ‘Look,’ he says, ‘I’m the manager here and I’m the law.’ that just made me boil,” Mingo said.

He’s filing a suit in the hope that stores might do more sensitivity training.

The store’s owner, Tim Baylor, tells WCCO he has not seen the complaint. He sent us this statement:

“As a McDonald’s owner/operator, I do not tolerate discrimination and take complaints like this seriously. In my organization we do our best to provide a great customer experience to every customer during every visit. We have not received a copy of the complaint and therefore it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.”

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield