I had a distinctly unpleasant experience today: I was discriminated against.
When you have a disability, you get used to a lot of the same kinds of discrimination: counters set too high, steps to get in that you can’t get over if you’re wheeled, restaurant owners telling you that you can’t bring your (dog, scooter, sometimes even wheelchair) in. It gets old fast, but you get used to it because it happens all the time.
It’s shocking, on the other hand, when you get it somewhere you don’t expect it. Somewhere it hasn’t happened to you before.
Yesterday, a taxi I called refused to transport Hudson and I.
I called the dispatch to get my cab and told them that I had a scooter that would break down and fit in the trunk. I didn’t mention the service dog because I’m under no obligation to do so.
The cab arrived 5 minutes late and knocked on the door of the house across the street, but I was watching for a cab to arrive so I saw him. I drove the scooter out, and I had Hudson with me.
The driver said, “You didn’t mention the dog when you called dispatch. You have to mention the dog.” I told him that I didn’t have to, because legally they had to transport service dogs. He repeated himself. Then he said he wasn’t the cab who was sent for me; they would be along in a few minutes. He got into his cab and drove off.
I’m sure all of you out there in cyberland have seen through what he said. Of course he was the cab sent for me! I live on a little tiny residential street. Cabs are rare here, and I end up calling them more often than anyone else on the street, because I have the most need of outside transportation.
Well, I wasn’t thinking at my best. It was first thing in a hectic morning for me, because my alarm hadn’t woken me and I’d overslept a whole hour and thus had barely gotten out the door at a near-acceptable time. So I waited almost 10 minutes, and then called the cab company to ask where my cab was.
They told me he was already there. So I told them about the driver who refused my service dog and drove off without me. They sounded pretty appalled and sent out a 2nd cab. That cabbie was at least nice and helpful.
I’m still shocked by the blatent discrimination. I’m waiting on a call back from the cab company’s manager to find out what they’re doing about the cabbie and decide whether I’m going to file a complaint only against the cabbie or if I’m going to file against the cabbie and the company. It mostly depends on how they respond to his wrong.
Fortunately, in the US, I have the Americans with Disabilities Act to make actions like that illegal and provide for legal recourse when they do happen. I can only imagine what it would be like in a country that didn’t have such laws in place.