- Muslim taxi driver refused to take blind couple because they had guide dog
- He refused to drive Charles Bloch and Jessica Graham because of animal
- Said: 'Me, I not take the dog' before telling them it was because of 'religion'
- Mr Bloch, 22, informed driver it was against Disability Act but he drove off
This is the moment a Muslim taxi driver refused to transport a disabled man with his guide dog after claiming it is 'against his religion'.
Footage shows Charles Bloch, with his guide dog Carlo and girlfriend Jessica Graham, trying to get in the taxi before being told by the driver that he will 'not take the dog' because of his religion.
Mr Bloch, who is registered blind after being born visually impaired, had booked the cab using firm ADT Taxis in Leicester but was shocked to be told the driver would not take him upon collection.
His partner, 21, who was also born with a visual impairment and is registered blind, filmed the encounter on her phone and posted the footage - which now been viewed by millions – online.
Footage shows student Charles Bloch, 22 (left), with his guide dog Carlo and partner Jessica Graham, trying to get in the taxi before being told by the Muslim driver (right) that he will 'not take the dog' because of his religion
It shows Mr Bloch, a student at De Montfort University, approaching the taxi and asking the driver why he could not take them.
The driver can be heard saying: 'Me, I do not take the dog. It's a choice for me. For me, it's about my religion'.
Mr Bloch responds: 'By law you can't deny us…it's against the disability act of 1995,' but the driver appears adamant and refuses to take the couple, instead saying he will need to call head office.
The footage shows the conversation between the driver, who has not been identified, and an operator at the taxi company and the cabbie can be heard asking if another car can be sent.
Mr Bloch interrupts the conversation to claim he doesn't want another car but to be taken in the one he had originally booked, but his plea seemingly goes ignored as the driver cancels the order.The footage ends with the taxi driving off and Mr Bloch shouting after the driver: 'If you drive away I'll sue you'.
The driver shouts back out of the window: 'Yeah, I'm ready to talk to the police.'
The video has since been shared on Facebook and YouTube more than a million times.
Many have been quick to point out that the Disability Discrimination Act makes it illegal for minicab drivers to refuse to carry guide dogs for blind passengers.
Susan Symon said: 'Totally shameful! Disgusting behaviour leaving a vulnerable person without adequate transport, discrimination such as this needs to not exist.'
Derek Deka O'Connor wrote: 'He shouldn't be allowed to work in the taxi trade , he should have his badge taken off him end of as he will probably do it to someone else , when you accept your badge you accept that you will not discriminate against anyone....'
Kay Duggan said: 'As a taxi driver myself I am totally disgusted at the treatment of this young man and his 'special' dog!! It says in your licence conditions you have got to take guide dogs!!!'
'WE ARE DEEPLY ASHAMED': FIRM CONDEMNS DRIVER'S BEHAVIOUR
And Andy Tasker wrote: 'The driver should by law have is license removed, hiding behind religion bull****. All drivers by law should pick all disabled people, so the booking office should be sacked for telling the driver to cancel the fare when the booking would have said disabled person to pickup.'
Mr Bloch, who lives with his partner in Leicester city centre, said the couple continually face challenges with ordering taxis and their guide dog.
He said: 'Every time we have to ring a can our hearts sink because we wonder what reaction we will get.'
'We are both very angry and upset about this. It is not good enough in 2016.'
ADT Taxis has now apologised for the incident and confirmed that the driver had been working with the firm on a freelance basis and would no longer be given any work by the company.
Darren Green, office manager, said: 'We very much regret this.
'The driver, who is self-employed has only been with us for two months.
'We will not use him again after this. We have 150 drivers working for us and have reported him to the council.
'I am visually impaired myself after suffering a detached retina. We have many customers who are visually impaired.'
The taxi firm also issued a full apology on Facebook in which it said it was 'deeply ashamed' of the driver's behaviour.
It said: 'He clearly broke the law after not accepting a booking we gave to him on religious grounds and has been dispensed with as well as being reported to the council.
'The driver is now free to work for any firm he chooses.
GUIDE DOGS AND THE LAW
'Our policy is clear, we do not discriminate, however in the taxi trade drivers are self-employed and free to take work from any source, i.e. Uber/any other private hire firm.
'If we have drivers reported to us for breaking terms of their license, we cut them off from our bookings system and no longer use their service.
'The manager is contacting the customer concerned, and will offer him a full apology and some free journeys.'
Leicester City Council said drivers are legally required to accept bookings from passengers with assistance dogs unless the driver has a medical exemption certificate, which this one did not.
A spokesman added: 'We're not aware of any taxi drivers in Leicester to which this applies.
'We've been in contact with ADT taxis, which have suspended the driver and are considering what further action to take.
'We will be contacting the customer to see whether they are prepared to make a statement, to support us in prosecuting the driver. We will also consider whether there are sufficient grounds to revoke the driver's licence.'