Blind man with service dog denied ride-share service again

Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 7:14 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A blind man with a service dog, who was featured in a special report four years ago, says he has once again been denied service by an Uber driver. Now, a large convention being held in New Orleans this week is considering taking action.

His name is Dimitrius Kouniarus, four years ago in a special called “Riding Blind,” he and his service dog were denied a ride.

Kouniarus moved away from New Orleans but is back this week attending a convention of the National Federation for the Blind, and in Kenner Sunday night, it happened to him and his service dog Cami once again.

Kouniarus was out with his friend Alyssa Henson. Both have service dogs and both were refused an Uber ride in Kenner.

“He shows up and says he’s not going to take the dogs,” Kouniarus said.

They say they were stranded by the Uber driver in a dangerous area, near fireworks, which made them fearful.

RELATED STORY: Visually impaired Metairie man seeks more ride share accommodations for guide dog

Now 2,300 members of the National Federation of the Blind are attending a convention in New Orleans, and they are considering resolutions designed to crack down on ride-sharing services refusing to adhere to service dog requirements spelled out in federal law.

This isn’t the first time the Federation for the Blind is asking ridesharing services to force ADA compliance but this time they’re asking for a provision with more teeth in it.

The resolution calls for rideshare drivers who refuse service to anyone with a service dog to be fired. Kouniarus has previously gone to Washington to lobby for tougher sanctions and says it is time for a change.

“If you don’t want to deal with dogs there’s consequences for you because if you refuse, your jobs are on the line,” he said.

The federation of the blind says their resolutions have forced Congress to type up laws in the past. They could vote on the resolution calling for the termination of ridesharing drivers who refuse access to service dogs later this week.

We reached out to Uber and Lyft for a comment and are awaiting their response.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Click Here to report it. Please include the headline.

Copyright 2022 WVUE. All rights reserved.