"Oh, my God - what's that tail? It's a monkey! What's a monkey doing in a Key Food?"
- Helene Romano, after Steven Seidler's helper monkey (a macaque, really), Darla, bit her grandson's arm
The story about a monkey that bites a toddler's arm is maybe the best proof that there are helper monkeys out there. There's Helene Romano and her grandson, Tommy. There's also Steven Seidler, a disabled man, and his service monkey/macaque, Darla (age 6). They meet at the Key Food on East 66th Street and Avenue U in Brooklyn, and then the facts get fuzzy: Grandmother Romano claims that Darla bit Tommy unprovoked, while Seidler says that Tommy had grabbed her and pulled her hair. Seidler, who uses a wheelchair at times and suffers from asthma, ephysema, and poor circulation, told the Daily News, "The kid grabbed the monkey and yanked her hair. I think the animal showed unbelievable self-control until the third rip, and then, in self-defense, the monkey gave it a bite."
And in making sure all tabloid bases were covered, as monkeys-attacking-kids stories are gold to the tabs, Seidler told the Post that one of Romano's relatives told him, "I'll open my hand and bitch-slap you and the monkey...I'm scared they'll do something to me or take away my. This monkey is my life." But some neighbors claim to have seen Seidler in the yard doing chores and some service animal organizations say macaques are not the best animals to be helper monkeys and that helper monkeys should stay home ("Monkeys are not shoppers. They don't have a role in a supermarket.") Gothamist will leave the last word to little Tommy Romano, who told his mother, "I scared monkeys."
Gothamist on monkeys we're familiar with.