Ariel Wade’s fight for her right to a late-night hamburger has ended in surrender.
In June, the White Castle on Rice Street in St. Paul refused to serve Wade when she rolled up to the drive-through in a personal mobility scooter. That was the only part of the restaurant open at the time, so Wade complained to the state Department of Human Rights, saying it was an act of discrimination against the disabled.
White Castle maintained that its staff was only trying to protect Wade from getting hit by a car. In October, the human rights department agreed and concluded the refusal of service wasn't discrimination. Then, last month, the lawyer who had represented Wade in her complaint informed her that his organization, the Minnesota Disability Law Center, didn’t have the resources for the next step - a private lawsuit against White Castle.
After Whistleblower first described Wade’s situation last summer, she became so much of a celebrity in St. Paul that she doesn’t go out much anymore, she said. “I can’t go anywhere without being called the White Castle lady,” she said.
“Some people have been supportive about it,” she said. “Others have made me a mockery and tell me that I’m taking advantage of the system, because I’m handicapped and that I’m trying to receive special services. No, I’m just wanting a business to abide by the laws.”
For now, the state has concluded no laws were broken. So Wade said she has decided to “let this sleeping dog lie.”