All this blind student from Regis University wanted was a ride to school. But her Thursday morning deteriorated quickly when her Uber driver refused to allow her to get into his car – all because of her guide dog.
Mollie Baland of Denver has a rare eye condition. She does her best to navigate everyday situations and does a great job. This is thanks in part to Ferris, her guide dog from Guide Dogs of America.
Usually, Baland walks about half a mile to get to campus every day with the help of Ferris. But due to the iciness of the ground for the past couple of days, and the difficulty the pair had navigating their way without slipping and sliding, Baland knew walking wasn’t a great idea.
So Baland called for an Uber ride so she could get to university easily, and it wasn’t long before her driver showed up. Ferris happily trotted up to the car, and the driver rolled down the window on his side to tell Baland that she couldn’t bring her dog into the car.
Baland started to explain that Uber’s policy actually prohibits drivers from denying customers because of their guide dogs. She even said she could show the driver her certificate that proves Ferris really is her guide dog. But the driver didn’t even let her finish. He simply upped and drove off.
Baland decided to discuss the incident with Uber, and the company responded by saying the driver’s account would be deactivated – but not until he received a second report from someone else. Baland took screenshots of the conversation.
Unfortunately, this has happened with Uber a good number of times. In fact, the National Federation of the Blind made an agreement with Uber back in 2016. Uber promised that all drivers would be notified of the federal law, requires that drivers allow service animals into their cars. Uber also agreed to remove any drivers that do not abide by these laws – something they did not follow through with in Baland’s case. It’s no wonder she’s disappointed in Uber!
Worse still, a spokeswoman for Uber stated that they had taken “appropriate action” after contacting both Baland and the driver. But Baland’s screenshots state otherwise. Baland is upset with how the company decided to handle the entire incident, and her driver, so far, has gotten off with nothing but a warning.