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She ordered an Uber to get home. The driver refused when he saw the wheelchair, woman says

Bryanna Copeland, 25, says an Uber driver refused to drive her when he saw her wheelchair. The company says it's investigating the allegations.
Bryanna Copeland, 25, says an Uber driver refused to drive her when he saw her wheelchair. The company says it's investigating the allegations. Screenshot from Facebook

Bryanna Copeland just wanted to go home after getting off work, she told ABC 7.

The 25-year-old woman, who has no legs and uses a wheelchair, called an Uber in Westbury, New York (on Long Island) last week, she told the news station. But the driver was almost immediately put off by Copeland’s wheelchair, ABC 7 reported.

Copeland was getting into the car when the driver allegedly asked her, “where is that thing going?” He then said he didn’t have room for her wheelchair, Copeland told WCBS, adding that the vehicle was an SUV with “plenty of space.” She’d explained that the wheelchair can fold and go in the trunk, but the driver still didn’t want her as a passenger, ABC 7 reported.

Copeland then told the driver he was violating the American with Disabilities Act, a federal law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, News 12 reported.

"It's discrimination, what you're doing based on my wheelchair, because if I didn't have my wheelchair and I was just walking you would have found a way,” Copeland said. "And chances are if I had luggage and I was trying to get in, you probably still would’ve had a way to get me and my luggage in there…”

A post to Uber's Facebook page, apparently from Copeland, said the driver didn’t want to cancel the ride but wanted her to cancel it, which usually results in a fee for the rider. Video captures Copeland arguing with the driver about his refusal. “You’re wrong,” she can be heard saying.

The driver says, “I try my best," among other things. Copeland then points out that he has an SUV that should be empty and have room for her wheelchair.

Uber responded to the Facebook post last week, asking Copeland to provide more information about the requested ride. The company is investigating, according to ABC 7.

Copeland wants the company to discipline the driver, News 12 reported. Uber told WCBS that Copeland was refunded for charges associated with the ride and apologized to the woman.

“We have a clear non-discrimination policy that includes serving riders with disabilities,” the company said.

Last year the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) launched an Uber-style on demand car service for disabled passengers. But higher-than-forecast demand forced KCATA to raise its fares, causing bitter protests.

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