service dog sitting on rug owner on phone call caption 'Ride canceled' (l) man hands holding phone in car with Lyft logo on screen (c) man phone caption 'ADA.gov ADA law REQUIRES ride share companies (I.e Lyft) to allow trained service animals in their car. Not doing so is against federal law' (r)

Elliott Cowand Jr/Shutterstock @my.eyes.ohara/TikTok (Licensed)

‘This is such a common issue’: TikToker calls Lyft driver to confirm they’re OK with their guide dog—but driver cancels after the call

‘If they do a drive-by, it’s easy evidence of discrimination.’

 

Braden Bjella

IRL

A TikToker went viral this week after claiming a Lyft driver canceled their ride upon learning they were traveling with a service dog.

In the video posted by user @my.eyes.ohara, someone calls a Lyft driver, who seems to be accepting of the service animal over the phone. However, soon after the phone call, he cancels the ride, leading to a dramatic reaction from the TikTokers in the video.

This TikTok currently has over 338,000 views.

@my.eyes.ohara This is such a common issue with ride share drivers. This was reported to @Lyft & is not the first time it’s happened this week. 🦮 #lyft #guidedog #servicedog #animals #boston #dogs #travel ♬ Emotional – Sallandu

“Just making sure, because I don’t want us to have any problems when you get here or for you to cancel the ride or anything,” the TikToker says after explaining their situation.

“No problem, sir,” the Lyft driver responds.

However, it appears this actually was a problem, as he canceled the ride soon after the phone call.

As @my.eyes.ohara states in the text overlaying the video, not accepting a service animal is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“ADA law REQUIRES ride share companies (I.e. Lyft) to allow trained service animals in their car. Not doing so is against federal law,” the user writes in the video’s text.

Lyft itself supports this idea on its website, writing, “You’re required by the law and Lyft’s policy to always accommodate service animals, even if you have an allergy, religious or cultural objections, or a fear of them.” This site also offers drivers advice on how to handle service animals.

Despite these rules, drivers denying riders with service animals is a common issue, as @my.eyes.ohara writes.

“This is such a common issue with ride share drivers. This was reported to @Lyft & is not the first time it’s happened this week,” @my.eyes.ohara explained in the video’s caption.

In comments, users supported @my.eyes.ohara and encouraged them to take further action.

“If you can I say sue. Thats the only way Businesses learn!!!” one commenter shared.

“Until these companies have to start paying the fines for their “independent contractors” nothing will change,” another agreed.

Others shared their own experiences.

“I used to text drivers about my [service dog] just so they were prepared, but usually cancelled right away. Sometimes took hours to find a ride,” one commenter wrote. “[Now] I stopped giving heads up. If they cancel after text & give excuse, its hard to disprove. If they do a drive by its easy evidence of discrimination.”

Update 9:22am CT, June 21: In an email to Daily Dot, Bella, who runs the account, clarified her partner is the one with a guide dog in the video and this was allegedly the fourth or fifth time he was “denied in a span of three days because of his guide dog.”

“Him and I have also been denied when traveling together, by rideshare drivers,” she claimed. “Often someone with a service dog will have the car pull up to pick them up, the driver will see they have a dog, and then pull away. Because my partner and I are blind, and only have very limited vision left, we contact the driver ahead of time. This is because we cannot see if our ride is to just drive away when they show up, plus it saves us time from waiting for the ride to show up just to not take us. The screenshots of messaging the driver, as well as audio recordings is something that is done by many service dog handlers. These examples of correspondence can be used in an investigation of drivers if needed. This access issue is something that happens daily, even multiple times in a row to disabled individuals needing assistance from their highly trained service dogs.”

Bella claimed “this is actually an extremely common occurrence among rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft.”

Bella said she, too, has a guide dog whose name is O’Hara and pointed to both Lyft and Uber’s policies regarding service animals.

“A service dog in the USA is defined as a dog that is trained to perform work/tasks that directly mitigates the disability/disabilities of someone who is disabled. This may be stopping a serious medical episode, and so much more. These dogs literally have the ability to save someone’s life, and are medically necessary to the individual working with one.”

She also clarified some of the questions that may those unfamiliar with the topic may have, especially as it relates to rideshare companies, and pointed to a video in which she aimed to educate viewers how her dog sits in rideshare vehicles.

“When you sign up to be a driver for companies such as this you acknowledge that you have a federal legal obligation to allow service animals in the car. The agreement also expresses  that allergies and fear of dogs are not legal reasons that a service dog can be denied. If you cannot commit to being ADA compliant, and are unable for any reasons to not take a service animal, you cannot drive for the companies.  A pet fee/cleaning fee may not be charged to someone with a service animal,” she claimed.

This responsibility is shared, in part, by both sides, Bella said.

“The ADA requires service dog handlers to also follow some guidelines. For example, under the ADA, service animals must be kept well groomed,” she added. “In addition to this, the ADA does not require that service animals be allowed to sit on furniture in public, or car seats of people’s cars. … Service animals also must be under control at all times, and be well behaved.”

We’ve reached out to Lyft via email.


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