An unlikely animal pairing that needed a helping hand found it in an even more unlikely source: the man behind The Walking Dead‘s most hated villain.
Emu and donkey friends Jack and Diane were found on an abandoned farm in South Carolina, where the owner apparently decided to take off without providing for the animals there. The organization Carolina Waterfowl Rescue found them and took them back to their sanctuary, but was hoping to find a permanent home for them where they could continue to be together.
As the organization noted, “where one goes, the other follows,” and the two appeared to be insufferable. In stepped Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the actor who plays villain Negan on The Walking Dead. Along with his wife, actress Hilarie Burton, Morgan owns a Hudson Valley, New York farm that he said would be a perfect home for the furry best friends.
“Happy to take them, and keep them together at our farm,” Morgan wrote on Twitter. “They would be a welcome addition to our menagerie of happy creatures.” Sure enough, the details were worked out and the organization turned them over to the Morgans, who now have a couple of new additions to their property.
Apparently, even during the journey to the Morgan farm, the emu and donkey were completely inseparable. When they arrived at the farm, even though there were multiple stalls in the trailer, “Diane had crawled underneath the door separating them and rode for god knows how many hours, laying beneath/between Jacks legs,” Morgan wrote on Twitter. “Made me smile big. Love is an amazing thing.”
Morgan promised his followers that he would be sharing photos of the duo once they got more acquainted with their new surroundings at the farm. For now, we can all rest assured that Jack and Diane will continue to be best friends.
After a blind man was refused service because of his dog, his friend decided to do something about it.
In most cases, it’s commonplace for restaurants and cafés to offer assistance to people with a disability. In the past, Oliver had never experienced any issues regarding his disability. However, Oliver would soon find that not every restaurant was in agreement regarding the common courtesies that should be bestowed upon the blind. This café, in particular, is one of the most famous in the UK…
A Thirsty Companion
It was a sunny day in Devon and Oliver Gibbons was walking his dog Sydney. In many ways, Gibbons’ day was not unlike that of most of the townspeople. There was, however, one notable difference – Gibbons was visually impaired and Sydney was his guide dog. After stopping at a cafè for something to drink, Gibbon’s day took a turn for the worst…
Despite being visually impaired, Oliver knew the importance of getting some exercise in every now and then. Despite spending most of his days at home, taking the time to try and make sure that he got some fresh air was important to him. As we all know, a little exercise can go a long way in making us feel healthier, happier, and stronger. Oliver also enjoyed the sounds and smells of the outside world, something that Sydney would get notably excited about as well. Therefore, on this day, they decided to get some well-needed exercise.
Knowing The Route
People who suffer from visual impairments are instructed to follow fixed routes every time they leave their home. This means that they have to map out a few routes that they can take and stick to them. While a guide dog can help them get around, it’s important to ensure that both know the road they’re walking. This reduces the chances of getting lost. Oliver followed a route that took him near the River Mardle and then into the center of town again.
The Importance Of Guide Dogs
As you can imagine, guide dogs are crucial for visually impaired people to function in the world. Without them, they are often unable to go very far and cannot do most of the simple things that we take for granted. In most parts of the world, it’s commonplace to designate areas that are specifically accessible to people with guide dogs. Oliver and Sydney were truly inseparable and the two could always be seen side-by-side.
In many ways, people with disabilities are everyday heroes. For them, being able to make it through every day is something to be proud of in itself and completing many of the tasks and chores that so many of us take for granted is something that most of them struggle with. Many people affected by disabilities like these are often inspired to overcome the challenges of their everyday lives, and they are an inspiration to us all.
Oliver Gibbons could never have anticipated being part of such a big story. The young man from Devon doesn’t let his disability prevent him from enjoying life to the fullest. A huge soccer fan, Oliver supports Arsenal FC and has many other passions. Also, he has formed a strong bond with his guide dog over the last couple of the years. However, he owes a lot of thanks to a friend of his, who has a huge part to play in this story…
In life, you need to have friends around you who are willing to help you in your darkest hour. For Oliver, that friend was Helen Fox. Having also established a close bond with his guide dog, Helen has kept a watchful eye over Oliver over the years. So when he had his recent experience at Cafe Nero, she made sure to rise to the occasion and ensure that he was OK. However, her part to play in the story came later on…
Tired From The Heat
The day of the story was a scorcher, to the say the very least. Seeing that Oliver lives in one of the hottest parts of the UK, the summer sun beat down hard on him and his guide dog during that fateful day. It was a matter of time before the heat took its toll on both of them. At that point, Oliver was a fair distance from home and decided to make a detour in order to get some refreshments for him and his dog…
Time For A Break
After a long day walking around, both Oliver and Sydney were tired and thirsty. The long walk had taken its toll on them. Thankfully though, Oliver knew the route he was on well and decided to treat both himself and Sydney for the day, by stopping off at a café he had heard of – Cafè Nero. The restaurant was well-known in the area and Oliver had always wanted to try it out. He figured now would be as good a time as any.
Oliver was no stranger to restaurants, and over the years he had dined at many of them. In most cases, he would be accompanied by his trusty companion Sydney and it wasn’t unusual for him to order the dog a bowl of water or some food to eat. Most restaurants or cafés tend to cater to people with disabilities and Oliver was sure that he would receive regular service like he had time and time before. But that would not be the case…
A Drink For His Dog
After the long walk in the heat of the day, both Oliver and Sydney were parched. As he walked up to the restaurant, he was hoping for something cool to drink. Up until then, Oliver had never had any issues regarding this, so he waited for a waiter as usual. It was clear that he was impaired, and while he didn’t expect any kind of ‘special treatment,’ he would soon find himself in a situation that was far from reasonable…
No Water For Dogs
After a few moments of waiting at the entrance to the restaurant, Oliver was greeted by a waiter. Before asking whether there was a seat available, he asked if his dog, Sydney, would be able to join him at the table and whether he would be allowed to have a bowl of water to drink. Oliver didn’t think it would be a problem, but the waiter abruptly said that the dog would not be allowed to have a drink. Oliver was distraught…
With that, the waiter turned and left Oliver standing in the street. Oliver felt awful. Without any good reason, the waiter had simply refused him service because of his disability. In most cases, helping those with disabilities takes precedence because of the fact that they are disadvantaged. In many ways, this was a classic case of ableism and it was something that deeply saddened Oliver. He had never encountered anything like this before and left that day feeling terribly dejected…
He Never Wants To Go Back
Not only did Oliver feel extremely uncomfortable from his experience at Cafe Nero, but he also vowed never to return to the cafe or any of its other branches. While it might seem like a rash decision, he certainly has his reasons to never go back. “Ollie doesn’t want to go back again,” Helen. “It made him quite sad, really. He was asking why they were being like that.” When Ollie broke down the story for her, she sprung into action…
After getting home, Oliver spoke to his helper, Helen Fox, about the incident. She was appalled by the story and decided to go back to the café on Oliver’s behalf to talk about it. When she got there, the manager explained that it wasn’t ‘against policy’ to deny water for service dogs, they were not allowed to keep bowls in store to allow dogs to drink for health and safety reasons. However, Helen wasn’t convinced by this and decided to take things a step further…
Ultimately, both she and Oliver agreed that this was unfair treatment. All Oliver had asked for was a simple bowl of water for his guide dog. It wasn’t as though he was simply bringing Sydney along for the fun of it. As a guide dog, Sydney was essential to his everyday life. He would not be able to lead a normal life without him and so didn’t see this as an exception to the rule for his own personal favor – this was just his life.
A Little Help From A Friend
Oliver was incredibly grateful to have Helen by his side. Without her, his life would have been a lot more complicated. For Helen, helping Oliver was a labor of love and she took great comfort in trying to help him. After speaking with the manager of the restaurant, she decided to spend some time figuring out a way to make a point about this. She wanted to do more than just help – she wanted permanent change…
Helen decided that the best way to deal with the situation was with the support of the public behind her. In the modern era, people have come to accept that the plight of the disabled is one that we all share responsibility for. In most cases, it really doesn’t take much to help someone with a disability, but failing to help when the opportunity arises can have seriously negative consequences. At least, this is what Helen wanted to prove…
Someone Made A Petition
While it’s unclear who made it, someone had seen Oliver’s story online and decided to do something to make their feelings felt. It didn’t take long before the mystery person went on change.org and created a petition, urging sympathizers to boycott the cafe where the incident happened. As of May 2019, 157 people have signed the petition, with the original poster nearly reaching their 200-signature target. It’s a testament to how far the story has traveled, and soon enough, others took notice.
Guide Dogs South West
After putting the word out about the incident, it wasn’t long until she got a reply from a local group that was dedicated to helping the visually impaired. Guide Dogs South West stated that: “It’s very disappointing that the staff in this Caffe Nero made a decision to deny providing water to this gentleman’s guide dog on such a warm day. It’s disappointing that the level of customer service fell lower than expected from a national chain.” But that wasn’t all…
Call In The RSPCA
Pretty soon after receiving a statement from Guide Dogs South West, Helen received another statement from the local RSPCA as well. “It’s extremely concerning to hear that a coffee shop refused to provide drinking water for a service dog whose handler was a customer. We would expect all businesses to show kindness and compassion towards all animals, but particularly to service dogs.” It seemed that Oliver’s story was an important one. After persisting, they would finally get the justice they were after…
Pretty soon after both statements were released, the story started picking up momentum online. In a matter of days, a number of people had spread the word of what had happened to Oliver. Cafè Nero would find themselves in a pretty serious PR catastrophe if they didn’t act soon. The manager of the branch finally stepped forward and offered a formal apology. He also stated that he would investigate the situation and make sure that the incident never happened again. But it didn’t end there…
A Day Out
As you can imagine, being visually impaired made many of the simple things that we take for granted much more complicated for Oliver. However, over the years, he had managed to come to terms with his disability. In many ways, he tried to live as normal a life as possible and his trusty companion Sydney made sure that he could do the kind of things that visual impairment makes difficult. A day out was a treat for both of them. However, this day wasn’t going to turn out this way…
Defending The Vulnerable
Stories about the disabled being neglected happen more often than we notice. Every day, there are cases of people who are put out or left behind just because of their disabilities. In many cases, these incidents can actually end up in court as the law tends to favor them when it comes to issues of accessibility. The owners of the café are actually very lucky that Oliver did not take them to court for the way they treated him…
More Than Customer Service
The issue with Oliver’s case was not about bad customer service, although this was clearly an issue. In truth, it was really more about singling Oliver out for his impairment and denying him the same access to a service that was otherwise generally accepted across the board. Bad customer service is one thing and it generally gets dealt with through management. Ableism is a much more serious offense and staff members should be trained in how to deal with those who have different needs.
Time For Change
It has become apparent that not enough has really changed over the years regarding this issue. While accessibility has become a more popular issue among today’s youth, it seems as though a lot of establishments still don’t cater for different needs. While trying to exact large-scale change in a short space of time is very difficult, making noise about incidents like this helps to raise awareness and create an atmosphere that is more susceptible to change.
A Lesson For All
While most of us are not directly affected by the plight of the disabled on a regular basis, ultimately, we all share the same world. Without even noticing it, you are overcoming hurdles that would otherwise be totally impossible for some people to deal with. Therefore, extending your kindness or understanding to them and lending a helping hand can have a huge effect on their lives overall. Ultimately, Oliver and Sydney’s story is a lesson in humanity for all of us.