Amy Dixon is a world-class paratriathlete, currently training hard for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. Since losing her eyesight in her 20’s, Dixon relies on her service dog, Woodstock to help her navigate the world around her.
“He pulls me like a sled dog and navigates me around,” Dixon told 10News.
But, when Dixon ordered an Uber to take her and Woodstock to swim practice, the driver left her stranded.
“I had 9:30am practice. So I called an Uber around like 8:50 with plenty of time, it said it was seven minutes out,” Dixon said. “I sent her a text message saying ‘Hi, you know, this is Amy and I’ll be outside with my guide dog.’ Within 30 seconds I got a notification that the driver had canceled the ride.”
Dixon said this was the fifth time that an Uber driver had canceled her ride when they found out about her service dog, despite the company’s strict policy that service dogs be allowed to ride with their handlers.
When Dixon reported the incident to Uber, they immediately suspended the driver’s account and ultimately banned the driver for refusing a ride to a service dog. But, Dixon remains concerned that it’s only going to happen again, if not to her, to another person with a service animal.
“I’d like to be able to be independent enough to get around on my own steam and Uber is an affordable way to do that generally speaking,” Dixon said. “But it’s only affordable if it works.”