Blind Student and His Service Dog Denied Access to a Bus

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A blind University of North Carolina Greensboro graduate student was denied access to a bus when he tried to board with his service dog on Sunday.

John Dyson and his service dog Sarge tried to board a HEAT (Higher Education Area Transit) bus at UNCG when they were stopped by the bus driver.

“I started boarding the bus and he said, ‘Wait, I’ve got to call my supervisor to see if you can come on her with the dog,’” said Dyson. “I said according to the ADA, he’s allowed any public places I’m allowed.”

Dyson took a seat on the bus, but the bus driver refused to leave the bus depot. A security guard then told Dyson he had to leave or the guard would physically remove him. Dyson got off the bus to try to sort out the problem. He was later allowed to ride a bus, but was hurt by the way he was treated.

“I felt humiliated, I felt embarrassed, like I was being singled out because I have a service animal,” said Dyson.

According to officials with the Greensboro Transit Authority the driver was a newer driver who was unfamiliar with the law. They also admit though that the driver should have been familiar with the proper procedure.

“[The driver] has been on the job for 90 days, so yes, he should have known,” said Information Specialist at Greensboro Transit Authority, Kevin Elwood.

Dyson hopes an incident like this doesn’t help again and hopes his story can help prevent it from happening to someone else.

“If this become a teaching moment and someone else in my position doesn’t have to go through this, then all this has been worth it,” said Dyson.

11 thoughts on “Blind Student and His Service Dog Denied Access to a Bus”

  1. The driver didn’t know that service dogs are allowed on buses??? That’s absolutely absurd. Most everyone knows that service dogs are allowed most places. The driver must have been from another country.

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    • Being from another country has nothing to do with it. The bus driver was hired by the Greensboro Transit Authority, a government agency. If the GTA did not have ADA training for their drivers I smell big lawsuit. Even if they did I would still sue. I hope this driver is fired. I am on a walker & I encounter this stupidity constantly in Boston on the MBTA.

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      • Sued? Really? Fired? The driver wasn”t rude or obnoxious to the fella he just wanted to find out the correct procedure. Mr. Dyson is calling attention to a simple problem that wasn’t necessary to have been done. Hope you don’t make a mistake at your job and get “FIRED”. And as a person with service dogs for the past 12 years I can tell you MANY people don’t know the law. I’m not offended in any way, I find it an opportunity to educate and as Dyson said hopefully prevent this from happening to some one else. There is a toll free info line to the ADA that anyone can call to resolve issues. Sueing only makes matters worse for everyone. It doesn’t resolve the problem which I believe is everyones goal anyway. Problem is so many fake services dogs peeing on merchandise, being aggressive, and being fed in restaurants by owners. As a result businesses don’t like me either even though I have a legitimate service dog.

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        • and have you been threatened with physical force when you tried to educate someone on your legal rights?

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        • An average person may not know the law… That I’d accept to a degree. However, there is absolutely no excuse for a transit employee AND a security guard for a college to both not know. The bus driver at least attempted to do the right thing by calling a supervisor, so a suspension is all I think he should be dealt. That security guard though, I believe should be fired. Not only was he ignorant to a law that most average people know, he also threatened the poor man. Sure, everyone makes mistakes. But those mistakes also have consequences. In retail you can get fired for simply disagreeing with a customer. An obviously ignorant and hostile security guard is okay? I don’t think so.

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    • Oh there are many people “advocating for service dog rights. Their just doing it the wrong way by going to newspapers, tv, and radio over issues that usually can be resolved easily. The driver made a mistake which many many people can do. I’m sure you’ve made mistakes. Should I go to the news and report how you treated me? Think first!

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  2. Key words here people that are sympathetic with the driver – It is the law as stated in the American Disabilities Act! This law is supposed to protect disabled people from this shameful discrimination!

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  3. I was kicked out of an international bike race in my small town because the security hired did not know the law. I have a severe form of epilepsy. I walk Main St with my dog everyday and all 3,000 residents would probably recognize. I balled my eyes out in front of hundreds of people and have never been so humiliated in my life. I’m a young 22 year old girl and the man was extremely threatening and harsh. I feel for this kid – I’ve been there. =[

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    • Ali, I am so sorry that happened to you. Too many security people and LEOs have military training that comes out when they encounter an unexpected circumstance. I hope you told his supervisors that his threatening and harsh manner were the more serious of his issues and not just his simple ignorance of the law.

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  4. This sort of behaviour seems tohave reached epidemic proportions in the USA, where the police like in the UK are no longer in the business of serving and protecting the public but are merely stooges of the government. While our firemen faced looters unprotected to save lives and protect property during riots some years back, the police were in many instances conmspicious by their absense. However, when it cam to a mass arrest of cyclistmounting a pre-scheduled mass ride that had been ruled legal by a court that rejected police efforts to ban it, twenty vehicles and four hundred officers were found to car away the cyclists because somebody in our corrupt govenrment was scared that this event would be used to protest against the waste of 10 billion pounds of public money that was the Olympics. It comes as no surprise therefore that even security guards and bus drivers like to throw their weight around, since they take tehir cue from the the top and see that fundamental freedoms are thing of the past in the Uk and the USA and many other parts of what is laughinly termed “the Free World”.

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