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, gets ready to board an Uber. He is accompanied by his guide dog, who assists him on a daily basis. This news item was reported by the Yahoo media.
Anthony is used to ordering a VTC via the Uber app, but this time things didn't go as planned. When the driver arrived, he refused to let them get in when he saw the guide dog that was accompanying Anthony. "He told me he didn't transport animals and flatly 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 transport, including VTCs, to accept assistance dogs. However, the driver retorted that he had specified in his profile that he refused to transport animals, and that there was a paying option for travellers who wished to travel with an animal on board. He also added that this option does not apply to guide dogs. Thus, a tense exchange is taking place between the two parties, who are unable to find common ground.
A passer-by 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 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 went to the back of the vehicle. However, the driver finally closes the trunk and makes confusing comments about filing a complaint and claiming 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. This is 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 told Yahoo: "I feel a lot of anger and sadness for my four-year-old daughter who watched the scene without saying a word and saw a scene with such violence. I'm used to it, maybe that's the saddest part.
After this altercation, Anthony explained that he contacted Uber's customer service, which told him that it would "do everything in its power to ensure that he would not be in contact with this driver when making future bookings", while advising him to "refuse the ride if this driver was offered to him" during the booking process. Anthony decided to file a complaint following this incident. When asked by Yahoo, an Uber spokesperson denounced this "unacceptable altercation" and said that they had "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 support people with disabilities, thanks to tools such as podcasts, videos and newsletters specially designed for them.
It also has problems in some shops and hotels
Anthony, who has faced refusals to take his service dog on board in the past, recently experienced a similar situation with an Uber driver. 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 the 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, shops 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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