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. 🙂
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.