Oceanside man denied Uber ride over service dog

Posted at 1:11 PM, Apr 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-08 16:21:13-04

An Oceanside man claims he was denied an Uber ride because of his service dog.

Ryan Benicky takes his dog Sterling everywhere. The Labrador/Rhodesian mix is Benicky's service dog.

On Wednesday night, Benicky called for an Uber ride, and a driver in a Lexus pulled up a short time later.

"And as soon as he saw the dog, he said, 'Oh, I can't take you.' I said, 'Why?' He said, 'Oh, my car's too nice, the seats are too nice,'" said Benicky.

Benicky, who has PTSD, told the driver that was discrimination.

"He didn't care. I said, 'Well, what if I was in a wheelchair?' And he said it wouldn't matter and he drove off and left me in the middle of the street." said Benicky.

With nowhere to go, Benicky called for another Uber ride.

"Oh, I was angry, I was furious, I was livid." said Benicky.

Benicky called another Uber, and he said it was a "completely different experience. The gentleman was from Uganda. He was very, very nice; very respectful" said Benicky.

Benicky said the experience with the first driver hurt.

"You just want to be treated like everyone else and when things like this happen, it just reminds you that you're different," said Benicky.

He reported the incident to Uber, and the company says they are still looking into it.

"Flat out I felt discriminated against. I mean, there was no reason I shouldn't have gotten in that car last night," said Benicky.

Uber agreed, and the company told 10News that's "unacceptable."

It's also against the law to discriminate against people with disabilities.

Uber told 10News they train all their drivers. They also have an option on the app called Uber Access, which is for people with wheelchairs or who need a little more assistance.

"I don't have mobility issues and I like to save those for people who really do have mobility issues because I would hate to take that car ride away from someone who really does need it." said Benicky.

Benicky just wants everyone to be treated equally, adding, "I want them to know that they can call Uber."