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.