Michigan woman in wheelchair denied Uber ride to work

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A 27-year-old woman who uses a wheelchair was denied a ride to work Monday by an Uber driver.

WOODTV reports Chelsea Perry, who has used a wheelchair for most of her life, saw the denial of service as an opening to raise awareness and prompt positive change.

"This just seemed like an opportunity to have a larger conversation," Perry said.

Perry has relied on Uber to get to work for a few years and said the drivers around Grand Rapids are usually helpful, even breaking down her chair, if necessary, to make it fit in their vehicles. 

Perry didn't a receive driver Monday.

"He said something along the lines of, 'I’ve had a rider who uses a wheelchair before, and her chair did not fit in my vehicle. I’m sorry,'" Perry said. "I tried to interject, to say, ‘Your car is accessible for me. I can make this work,’ but he didn’t let me get a word in edgewise. He kind of just shut his door and drove off."

Uber's accessibility policy states, "Our goal is to make transportation more accessible to people with disabilities. We’re committed to building solutions that support everyone’s ability to easily move around their communities." 

You can read Uber's nondiscrimination policy here.

"The law does not require me to say something about it prior," Perry said of her use of a wheelchair. "That’s opening it up to having more instances like the one I had Monday, where drivers are given the chance, the choice, to not follow the law and not service me."

"Uber’s Community Guidelines prohibit any type of discrimination in serving riders with disabilities," wrote Uber spokesperson Andrew Hasbun. "We have been in contact with the rider and have launched an investigation."

The ride-sharing service also refunded the cancellation fee it had charged Perry for the ride that didn’t happen.

Uber said it could not comment further on the details of what happened in Perry’s case because its internal team was just starting to investigate.