CHINATOWN (CBS) — Boston Police are investigating after a blind woman said she was denied a ride because of her service dog–and her legally blind boyfriend said the driver dragged him down the street.
Richard Welch said he was trying to unlock the door to the backseat of an Uber for Milissa Garside, when the driver saw her service dog, rolled down the window, and said he was not going to let them in.
Garside told WBZ-TV this is not the first time Uber drivers have said no to her dog, but “according to the law Americans With Disabilities Act and Uber’s policies, he has to take the dog.”
“He rolled up the window, caught [Welsh’s] hand in the door, and pulled away,” she continued.
Welch said he was dragged about 15 feet on busy Washington Street in Chinatown. He was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment.
“I knew I was gonna go down,” Welch said to WBZ NewsRadio. “I’ve got five stitches in my pinky, some road rash on my elbow.”
Uber said they have removed the driver’s access to the app.
“We are sorry to hear about this disturbing report and we are reaching out to check on the rider’s well-being,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement. “Drivers are expected to accommodate riders with service animals and comply with all accessibility laws.”
The company said that all drivers agree to transport service animals as part of their technology services agreement with the company, and that they prohibit any type of discrimination against riders with disabilities.
Uber said drivers also receive quarterly reminders about their obligation to accommodate riders with service dogs.
Boston Police are also investigating, calling the incident an “assault-aggravated-battery” on a “disabled” person.
“It’s a huge issue,” Garside said. “A lot of my trips end up in denials … this is a huge problem.”
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports