WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A West Haven man claims two separate Uber drivers denied him a ride because of his service dog.
Kyle Powers, 26, has epilepsy and narcolepsy and suffers from seizures, but his trusty service dog, Steil, is always by his side to help.
“She has been able to alert me before the seizures actually happen,” Powers said.
Because her service is so greatly needed, the pair goes everywhere together, including his job as a personal trainer in North Haven.
“I can just live a normal life that’s all I’ve wanted to do, go to work, come home,” he explained.
So, when Powers needed an Uber to get home after work on Dec. 6, it was business as usual until something unusual happened.
“He [the driver] takes one look at me, and Steil, my service dog, and he makes a face, rolls his eyes of some sort, and drove away canceling my ride.”
Powers said he was stunned and stranded, so he tried once more and called another Uber.
But Powers said that ride didn’t go smoothly either. He claims the second driver told him that “he has a small fear of dogs and his eyes get itchy.”
The denied rides are something that is in direct violation of Uber’s policies.
On its website, Uber states that state and federal law prohibits drivers from denying service to riders with service animals, even if they have allergies or a fear of dogs.
“The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, prohibits discrimination of any kind against people with disabilities and their service animals. In accordance with this law and Uber’s policies, refusal to transport service animals, even once, will result in permanent removal from the platform.”
Powers reported the alleged discrimination against him and said
he’s waiting to hear about the outcome of the company’s investigation.
However, he said he isn’t letting this go without a fight.
“Do the right thing,” he added. “That’s in the laws.”
A spokesperson for the company told News 8: “We do not condone discrimination of any kind. Drivers who use the Uber app agree to accommodate riders with disabilities and must comply with accessibility laws.”
The company claims both drivers are denying they discriminated against Powers.
Uber also said it refunded Powers.