I was debating whether to share this story later this week or tonight, but I think I just have to get this off my chest. I had a very scary experience in an Uber vehicle today. 

Now, please realize I have taken the appropriate steps before posting this. I contacted Uber and filed a complaint with the DOJ.

I requested an Uber ride from my place of employment to a place of business- my veterinary center. First of all, the driver took an extended period of time to arrive. I texted the driver using the Uber app to inform him that I was visually impaired and had a service dog. I do this for several reasons. 1) To let them know I have limited vision and to alert me when they pull up. Even if I think it’s the right car, I won’t get in until they have made contact of some sort, because I HAVE gotten In the wrong car before. It was embarrassing more than anything but can also be a safety thing. 2) I like to give them a little warning that I have a service dog so they aren’t completely freaked out. Now some handlers say this is leaving me open to more trouble and discrimination but I have actually had a lot of luck with this method.

So, when I texted and didn’t hear back, I also called multiple times, with no response. I later texted to see if he was having trouble finding me, with no response. I eventually reached him via phone, and he told me he was “here,” but when going outside I learned that he really wasn’t. I helped him find me. We get in the car, and he says “hi,” and that was about it. Soon after we pull off, he starts getting very irate and raised his voice/started yelling about how he doesn’t allow pets in his vehicle. I calmly explained that my guide, who was marked, was a guide dog as I was visually impaired. He said “are you really blind?” to which I explained that I am legally blind but can see a little. He then started telling me that I was going to have to pay for his car to be cleaned. He started talking about how fleas are hard to get out of a car, but my dog doesn’t have fleas, nor was she itching. She was just sitting quietly on the floor of the backseat. My guide did not do any damage whatsoever. She didn’t even touch a seat. He said he didn’t care, there were NO dogs were allowed in his car. I explained state and federal law (Americans with disabilities act) and he said he didn’t care, he would never transport us again or any service dog. I was nice but firm. Later he said he was allergic but it sounded like he was just making it up. He kept harassing me and I told him I would report it to Uber and the DOJ and he said that it was his right to not allow me in the future and say that he never is allowing service animals. I am so frustrated because while doing this he took a very long route, got lost multiple times, etc and then questioned my disability and why I need a service dog, which is also illegal. I felt very threatened and scared and discriminated against. At one point the driver did say he was disabled himself, and he had a red handicap placard hanging on his mirror.

We got to the vet safe and sound. While Makiko was in the back getting her staples out, I wrote feedback to Uber. I them requested another Uber and had one of my favorite drivers, Andrea, come. I told her what happened and she was in just as much disbelief as me. She said Makiko hasn’t done as much as left a HAIR in her car. While I am glad she hasn’t found any tracing of Makiko, she is shedding pretty bad right now so I’m sure there were some hairs. 🙂

When I got home, I was still pretty shaken up so we relaxed for a bit and then Uber called. Due to their privacy policy, they can’t tell me what happens with the driver but did tell me that most times the driver gets suspended while the investigation is pending and if they are found to really be in violation, they are removed from the app. One of my friends coincidentally had this driver last week and he was pretty nutty with her too. 

I’ll try and upload the map later of our route You can see the pretty little circle he went in. Trying to figure out how much I want to pursue this from here. I’m getting tired of this mess. 

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Jessica N and Makiko

Jessica is a proud Texan. She graduated in 2014 with her Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling and is now employed. She is visually impaired and has a retinal disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa. Originally Jessica started blogging about everything from being diagnosed with the disease to where she is now, almost 9 years later. Then, Jessica went to Guide Dogs for the Blind and was blessed with Makiko, her new guide dog. Now, her blog "The Way Eye See The World" is about everything related to visual impairments, including guide dogs.

2 thoughts on “ADA Violation (aka ONE OF THE SCARIEST EXPERIENCES EVER) – Uber”

  1. Sorry to read about your negative experience with uber. As long as you file a complaint with doj and uber. Let it go through the process with following up statuses from both.
    When I travel with my sd Lizzy, I too give courtesy up front being accompanied with a sd.

  2. OMG That is awful! I am glad you guys were both safe. I have never used Uber but do use Taxis through the ACCESS program provided by the OCTA (Orange Country Transit Authority) here in Orange County. 99.9% of my rides have been excellent, except for one. I had a taxi driver make lude and sexually explicit remarks to me on my cell when he was trying to find me in front of the nail salon. I was SO grateful I hadn’t gotten into the car with him yet. I ran back into the salon, had a male employee go out to the driver and tell him to go away. I reported it to the cab company and OCTA but I doubt anything ever came of it. If I ever have it happen again, I WILL follow up with it but I totally get your hesitation. It is time consuming and you have to re-live the experience every time you tell someone about it. I am so sorry you had to go through this! I get so irate when I think about how there are people out there that mistreat others, especially when they’re vulnerable!

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