What is going on this week? First it was the mall Santa who refused an autistic girl and her Pitbull, and now we’ve just heard that a cab driver refused to let in a blind woman and her Golden Retriever service dog. Taxi driver John Derek Mycroft was fined over $1000 after he refused to let retired nurse Patricia Powell, 73, in his cab with her guide dog, Yates
While such prosecutions are rare according to The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, thankfully there was some kind of justice in this case. The difficulty in these cases usually lies in identifying offenders. Mrs Powell, who is registered blind, had gone to a taxi rank hoping to get a cab home on April 24. She was accompanied by her golden retriever guide dog, Yates, and Tesco security officer Yogendra Patel, 42, who was helping her with her bags.
When they were about to enter the cab, Mrs Powell and Mr Patel heard the driver say: “I’m not taking the dog, get in the next taxi.” In a statement read out in court, Mrs Powell, who has been blind for 18 years, said she felt “frustrated and discriminated against”.
“My guide dog is my constant companion and I would be lost without him. Yates is with me at all times as he is my mobility tool – not my pet. I need him to be with me, to be my guide. This is the sixth time that I have been refused access to a taxi now, as a result of having my guide dog with me. Luckily, in this case there was another taxi available to carry me but it worries me that this may have occurred at night when I was on my own and I could have been left in a dangerous situation. The incident has left me feeling very anxious and nervous about traveling by taxi, in case the issue occurs again, and has caused me significant upset. I would also hate for this to happen to another guide dog owner.”
Speaking after the case Mrs Powell said: “I think he deserved it. Even now, I feel apprehensive about taking taxis, if I don’t know the driver. “I’m glad he pleaded guilty – but that’s not the point. The point is: blind people should not be discriminated against.”
We strongly agree with Mrs. Powell. At what point is the world going to recognize how amazing service dogs are instead of being fearful of them? Seems that this driver was guilty of two stereotypes, the blind and dogs.
Image via Cavendish