An Open Breakup Letter to Lyft, Who Wouldn't Let My Service Dog in the Car

Because he sheds.
Publish date:
November 11, 2016
Discrimination, dogs, disabilities, cab drivers, taxis, Service Dogs, Lyft

Dear Lyft,

I have so much to say.

When we first met, you enamored me. I called, and you came. I didn’t have to wrestle an able-bodied person for taxis in the pouring rain anymore. You cared about only me, and it felt good.

So. Good.

I could see our relationship going the distance. I thought we would see many trips from the edges of Ocean Beach into the crowded downtown streets of San Francisco. You would escort me home if had too much fun wine tasting or went to see my beloved Giants. You were there for me. You didn’t judge.

It was perfect. Until it wasn’t.

As you know, I sometimes bring my trusty sidekick with me: my beloved service dog DeMilo. He can open doors, turn on lights, pick things up, and be there for me when I fall. You two have met before.

There was always mutual respect — until there wasn’t.

It happened so fast; I almost didn’t think it was real. I called you, and you came, but then you decided DeMilo couldn’t ride with you because, like most dogs, he sheds. I explained that he sits on the floor. You weren’t having it. You refused to let us go with you, and just like that, you left me hanging.

I felt stood up. I felt cheated. I paid you for the privilege of blatant discrimination.

I was willing to put up with your lack of knowledge when it comes to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — until I wasn’t.

I called and said we needed to talk. I told you what happened, and I felt like you didn’t take me seriously. We aren’t exclusive, but I wasn’t asking for much. I asked you to please educate your drivers about the ADA and work on improving experiences for people like myself.

Your response was really disappointing.

Our experience was noted in some database somewhere, and I was given the URL to your very own service animal policy, which states, “It is Lyft’s policy that passengers with service animals should be reasonably accommodated by drivers on the Lyft platform.”

My point exactly.

You gave me a $5 coupon that expires in one month, and sent us on our way. That felt more like a patronizing pat on the head than a sincere apology.

I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt at first, but now I am not. Please keep your $5, and know we are breaking up. I am sad to see you go. I thought you were different. Being different is something I take pride in. So should you.


Sara and DeMilo