Service dogs provide invaluable help and companionship to people in need. They’re no ordinary dogs, but dogs specially trained to perform certain tasks and provide crucial medical assistance when needed.
Maybe the most important service dogs are “seeing eye” guide dogs for the blind, helping their owners avoid obstacles they are unable to see.
It’s one type of service animal that everyone should be okay with, no matter where they are—but recently one bus driver provoked outrage after refusing to let a blind woman and her dog board his bus.
Louise Pearson, from Melbourne, Australia, is blind and relies on her Labrador guide dog, Arthur.
Every day she takes the bus to get to work, Arthur leading the way, and has never had any problems… until last week, when the driver stopped her.
“The bus driver pulled up in front of me and he said ‘no dogs on this bus,’” Louise told 3AW.
Even though other passengers vouched that she was a regular rider and Arthur was a legit service dog, the driver stood his ground and refused to let them board. The bus sat still for 50 minutes.
The driver eventually called the police, who offered to give Louise a ride to work instead. But she refused, correctly insisting that she had a legal right to ride the bus with her guide dog.
Eventually, with the police on her side, the driver relented and let her board, but Louise was incensed: “I’m totally blind,” she said. “I’m just trying to go to work!”
In response to the controversy, bus company The Dyson Group released a statement to 3AW, apologizing and attributing the incident to a “driver misunderstanding.”
“Dysons unreservedly apologizes for any inconvenience caused to the passenger, and others on the bus.”
“We are disappointed that her commute to work did not proceed as it should have,” they added. “We hope that she can accept our apology, and that she feels comfortable traveling on our services for many years to come.”
But even with the apology, the story shows the difficulties people who rely on service animals still face in society: “I can’t believe in this day and age that we have this sort of nonsense going on,” Louise said.
What an outrageous story! We hope that Louise and other guide dog users don’t have to face this kind of hassle any more.
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