Yesterday, a driver who claimed to be asthmatic in order to avoid taking Mr Ahmad and his guide dog Walt, was fined £500, with £500 costs, and ordered to pay £100 compensation to Mr Ahmad at Leicester Magistrates’ Court.
He will also be referred to the city council’s Licensing Enforcement Sub-Committee to decide whether he can keep his Hackney Carriage and private hire vehicle driver’s licence. Refusing to take a guide dog is an offence under the Equality Act 2010.Yes, you guessed it.
Driver Mohammed Jauffer, who works for Everest Taxis in Loughborough Road, Leicester, was booked to take Mr Ahmad from the Brew Dog pub in Berridge Street/Friar Lane in the city centre, to the Flamingo Bar on Loughborough Road, on September 15 last year.
Magistrates heard when he arrived to collect Mr Ahmad, Jauffer, 36, of Stockton Road, Northfields, Leicester, refused to take Mr Ahmad’s guide dog, claiming he was asthmatic.
When Mr Ahmad asked the driver if he had the necessary medical exemption certificate, Jauffer, who pleaded guilty to the offence, apologised for not having one and said he was allergic to dogs.
Later that day, 48-year-old Mr Ahmad who was registered totally blind as a young man before going on to have a highly successful career, encountered a similar situation. Mr Ahmad, who joined the GB Paratriathlon squad and set the world record for the fastest Blind Ironman, had taken a taxi from his Oadby home to give one of his inspirational talks to Blaby Beaver Scouts. While there was no problem on the way there, the taxi driver who arrived to take him home - booked through the same company - tried to refuse taking him, saying that he too was allergic to dogs, he said.And then of course, it was 'Wait, you're one of us!'...
Mr Ahmad added: “When I threatened to report him, he said "why brother are you going to report me?"
“I pointed out that he was acting unlawfully and that he could lose his licence. He soon changed his mind."
Mr Ahmad said the driver reluctantly opened the tailgate to allow Walt into the car.This needs to stop. The punishment should be immediate forfeiture of the licence. Obey our laws, or find another way to earn a living.