Last night I kind of went off the handle, but I’m tired of fighting for my rights for having a service animal. I will explain the situation and what happened, and you can make your decision. At work they decided to let us go early and I won a lottery to do so. We have no sidewalks at my work to catch a bus, so I either have to ride with a friend call a cab or use a company like Lyft. A few posts ago I talked about having an issue with the driver, and today it match me with the same driver that took me to work on Monday. He actually called me today and said I have a new policy for my car that doesn’t allow animals. He said what he would do is cancel my ride and I could request another one. I was kind of an a haze because he just picked me up Monday. I tried for another driver, but everyone was busy. I called yellow cab and was told someone will pick me up with in 10 minutes. I was standing outside and nobody came. I called back and asked dispatch where the driver was and they told me that they’ve already tried to pick me up. I said no one called me like I had requested? She then said sorry the notes were at the bottom to do so so she requested another ride. I imagine someone saw the dog when they pulled up because I was outside and just didn’t bother to call. At this point I’m going on standing outside for close to an hour waiting for a ride. I decide to give Lyft another try because all I want to do is get home and start my weekend. I got Bill, so I called him and asked if he was allergic to any dogs? I don’t like doing this, but I don’t want to waste anymore time he said no and that he would be there. Truthfully I’m probably the easiest going blind person out there, because I do understand not everyone likes dogs. That being said I’m also tired of being a doormat to something that is a right I have the right to take my dog anywhere. I just had read an article about Uuber being sued in San Francisco for not picking up passengers with service animals and I didn’t want this to become a trend nationwide.
I don’t have any issues these days at restaurants or stores, for the most part but where I have a continual issue is transportation. When I worked in Detroit last year I posted to my Facebook because a guy wanted to take off once he saw my dog I advised them of the law he did take me to my destination, but was not very friendly. I’ve been told by drivers here in Louisville that if my dog touches them during the ride we will get in a wreck. A lot of Muslim cabdrivers will not take me because of their religious viewpoints on dogs. I know in New York City the police are trying everything they can to stop this from happening, but to my knowledge nothing is being done here locally and Louisville. With all the news today about how for example gays are being turned down services if trying to Mary I think it is the same sort of issue what we face trying to get a ride.
Tonight Lyft did call me back and gave me a free ride and said I would never be matched with that driver again. I don’t want a free ride, because it does nothing. I rather want to educate them on the laws that they should have to abide by. I can be a pretty strong advocate when I need to be some others may not be strong. I don’t know what my actions will be on this matter, but we need change. It is 2014 awareness for service animals should be way better than it is. I know there are issues with people trying to sneak and actual normal animal as a service animal that is a problem too, but when my dog is trained to do a task by a legitimate school there is no reason I should struggle getting a ride anywhere. I don’t know how to feel at this very second because Lyft did reach out, but really didn’t address the issue. Yes I’m getting a free ride and I will not be match with that driver ever again, but it doesn’t keep it from happening again to someone else. Maybe that is a dream like Dr. Martin Luther King would have. In light of things recently we sometimes forget that even though we’ve made strides we still have a long way to go for equality. I do dream about a world one day where the unemployment rate for blind people will drop, and people will CS as a viable option not a pity party. I don’t really have anything more enlightening to say just let’s make some changes. I will say tonight cause me a little depression, because it just bothers me that this still continues to be a problem. I don’t know if I can describe it but it’s kind of a reminder that even though I work hard to live a normal life for some reason I keep being penalized for using a service animal which makes my life easier. Damn that sounds like one big contradiction, but I’m honestly exhausted so I will leave with that.