Story By: Ernest Bio Bogore, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
Three Uber drivers in a row refused to take a blind woman to the train station – making her miss an important meeting – because they were worried her guide dog would make a mess.
The incident took place in the city of Toulouse in the southern French department of Haute-Garonne when 34-year-old Florie wanted to travel to Montpellier for a meeting and she called an Uber cab to take her to the train station.
She said that when the first driver arrived, he spotted the guide dog and refused to take the blind woman.
The cabbie said: “You want to take your dog? Well, you can’t.”
Florie said: “Diplomatically, I explained that I was blind and that the animal is a service dog.”
However, the taxi driver refused to take her and she was forced to call for another cab.
A second Uber driver arrived and also refused to take her to the station because of her guide dog.
Florie said: “This had never happened to me twice in a row, I was sure it couldn’t happen three times in a row, but it did, the third driver told me he had nothing to clean the car with afterwards.
“I told him that the dog could go in the boot and that I was not insisting on having him at my feet.”
On the fourth attempt, a driver finally agreed to take Florie to the station, however she said: “I still had to explain the law to him!”
She later wrote on social media: “Today, I’m sad and angry… I missed a train and put several people in trouble because I was turned away by three successive Uber drivers due to my guide dog.”
Florie also appealed to Uber to remind drivers that they are required to take service dogs by law.
An Uber spokesperson replied: “Hello, we are sorry for this unacceptable situation. We regularly remind drivers of the importance and obligation to transport visually impaired people accompanied by guide dogs.”
Florie replied: “I’m not asking you to tell me lies to calm me down, I’m asking you to do something to stop it from happening, as it’s happening more and more.”
In France, refusing to transport a service animal is punishable with a 450-EUR (399-GBP) fine.
And in the UK taxi drivers have to carry guide dogs and any taxi driver who breaks the law will incur a 1,000-GBP fine, and likewise anyone with a private hire vehicle who refuses a guide dog can have their licence revoked.
The ViralTab page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.