February 15, 2017 10:28 pm
Updated: February 15, 2017 10:30 pm

Paralympic athlete claims Toronto Uber driver left her at the curb due to guide dog

WATCH ABOVE: A Toronto woman says the Uber car she ordered pulled up and left after seeing her guide dog. She says being left at the curb was a humiliating experience. Christina Stevens reports.

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As a mother, author, speaker and Paralympic rower, Victoria Nolan is always travelling.

But when she tried Uber for the first time, it did not get her where she needed to go.

“My guide dog took me over to the car. I went to try the door handle and it was locked, so I waited assuming he was going to unlock the door. And when I reached out again, the car was gone – he had driven away,” Nolan said, adding it was dangerous and demeaning.

“I am left standing there humiliated.”

Nolan said the driver then phoned her asking about her dog. She explained Alan is a guide dog, not a pet.

“I told him it was illegal to not accept the dog. He said, ‘No, it’s not illegal,’and he hung up on me,” Nolan said.

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She said what made it even worse is she had made a point of using UberAssist, a special program in which participating drivers are required to complete extra instruction on the accommodation of individuals with disabilities.

In a statement sent to Global News, Uber offered Nolan an apology.

“Driver-partners are expected to accommodate riders with service animals,” the statement said in part.

Uber said there’s an ongoing investigation and the company has “removed this driver’s access to Uber.”

CNIB emphasized all businesses are legally required to accept guide dogs.

“This is a non-negotiable, this is somebody’s safety,” said CNIB-GTA executive director Angela Bonfanti.

She said the organization hears all too often about guide dogs being refused, and better awareness could help.

“If we spent the time that we needed on education, then I’d like to believe we wouldn’t have this issue everyday,” said Bonfanti.

Meanwhile, Nolan said has had enough rejection to last a lifetime.

“It’s frustrating and it makes me on some days feel like I don’t want to go out because I could potentially have to deal with this and obviously that’s not right.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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