As he prepares to accompany his four-year-old daughter to school in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, Anthony, who has been blind since the age of seven, is getting ready to get into an Uber. He is accompanied by his guide dog, who assists him on a daily basis. This news item was relayed by the Yahoo media.
Anthony is used to ordering a VTC via the Uber app, but this time, not everything went as planned. When the driver arrived at the location, he refused to let them on board when he saw the guide dog that accompanied Anthony. "He told me he didn't transport animals and flat out refused to take us," says Anthony, who filmed the scene with his phone.
A dialogue that leads nowhere
After watching the video, we see that Anthony tries to explain to the driver that the law requires all public transportation, including VTCs, to accept service dogs. However, the driver retorts that he has specified in his profile that he refuses to transport animals, and that there is a paying option for travelers who wish to travel with an animal on board. He also added that this option does not apply to guide dogs. Thus, a tense exchange is established between the two parties, who are unable to find common ground.
A passerby intervened to confirm to the driver that guide dogs should be allowed on board, in accordance with the law. This intervention seems to have convinced the driver, who got out of his vehicle to, presumably, allow the dog to get on board.
The situation is deteriorating rapidly
Thinking he had won his case after the driver said, "I'll take it, there's no problem," pointing to the guide dog, Anthony headed to the back of the vehicle. However, the driver finally closes the trunk and makes confusing comments, mentioning a complaint and a claim to Uber. Finally, he reaffirms his agreement to take the dog after contacting Uber.
While the driver is apparently trying to contact Uber on his phone, Anthony decides to get his dog into the back of the vehicle. That's when the situation takes a dramatic turn, as the driver violently grabs Anthony before brutally shooting the dog from behind in a fit of anger, as the footage shows.
"I'm used to it, maybe that's the saddest part"
Anthony confided to Yahoo: "I feel a lot of anger and sadness for my four-year-old daughter who witnessed the scene without saying a word and saw a scene with such violence. Me, I am used to it, it is perhaps that the saddest "
After this altercation, Anthony explains that he contacted Uber's customer service, who told him that they would "do everything in their power to ensure that he would not be in contact with this driver during his next reservations", while advising him to "refuse the ride if this driver was offered to him" during the connection. Anthony decided to file a complaint following this incident. Questioned by Yahoo, a spokesperson for Uber denounced this "unacceptable altercation" and said he "immediately suspended the driver's account temporarily pending an internal investigation.
The company assures that its drivers are regularly made aware of the need to accompany people with disabilities, thanks to tools such as podcasts, videos and newsletters specially designed for them.
It also encounters problems in some shops and hotels
Anthony, who has faced refusals to take his service dog on board in the past, recently experienced another similar situation with an Uber driver. Indeed, last December, he had an altercation with a driver who refused to take his dog on board, which led Uber to suspend his customer account, given the conflicting testimony of the driver and witnesses present.
Anthony notes that the problem of accepting guide dogs is not only present among Uber drivers, but also in some of the hotels, businesses and swimming pools he has visited. He deplores a lack of knowledge of the law and a lack of good faith on the part of some establishments.
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