Blind Teen Denied Taxi Ride By Company - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Blind Teen Denied Taxi Ride By Company

Posted: Updated:
LANDSDALE, Pa. -

Michael Coughlin lost his sight completely when he was just four years old. Now, 19, Michael is trying to get an education at Montgomery County Community College. SEPTA buses handle most of his transportation needs to-and-from classes, but sometimes he needs a taxi-cab. That's where our story begins.

It seemed simple enough: Michael Coughlin needed a cab ride last Friday afternoon from the bus stop at Main Street and Green in downtown Lansdale to his home a few miles away.

But Michael says that when he called Homestead Cab Company and informed the female dispatcher that he is blind, things didn't go as plan. He asked her to have the driver call him when the cab arrived, so the two could connect.

"This is when she started saying, 'we can't pick you up. We're going to have to cancel your ride' and blah, blah, blah, and I'm like, 'for what?' And she says, 'the driver can't assist you in any way,'" says Coughlin.

Michael says he made clear that he didn't need assistance with luggage or help getting into the cab. He just needed a call, so he and the cabbie could find each other. He says the dispatcher told him that Homestead could not accommodate his request.

In fact, Michael quotes her as saying: "'Our insurance doesn't cover this. You should be taking para-transit.'"

"I was like, 'what? I've never heard of this before and I've been taking taxis my whole life and I had a taxi from you guys earlier this week," says Coughlin.

Michael's mom says her son lives an active, independent life, despite his blindness. All he needed was a simple phone call.

"I was fuming," she says. "I was really upset that this still happens today."

Christy Coughlin says her calls to Homestead got no response. FOX 29 went to the company's Lansdale headquarters, but was told the owner was not in. The female dispatcher was not on duty when we visited.

Moments ago, Homestead owner Nick Chermela returned Bruce Gordon's call to explain that his policy of requiring an extra person to assist Michael with getting into or out of the cab will not change.

They will not pick him up without the Coughlin's supplying that extra helper. Chermela told FOX 29 that his drivers are not qualified to deal with a blind passenger.

"We're not a para-transit company," he said.

But both the advocacy group Liberty Resources and the Americans with Disabilities Act Mid-Atlantic help center tell FOX 29 that the taxi service should have provided Michael the ride he needed.

Christy Coughlin says that she plans to file complaints against Homestead at both the state and federal level.

  • Bruce Gordon ReportsMore>>

  • Feds: 6 Philly Narcotic Cops Robbed, Kidnapped Drug Dealers

    Feds: 6 Philly Narcotic Cops Robbed, Kidnapped Drug Dealers

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 1:20 PM EDT2014-07-30 17:20:24 GMT

    Six former members of the Philadelphia Police Dept.'s narcotics unit have been federally indicted, charged with using robbery, kidnapping and other tactics to shake down more than $500,000 in cash, property and drugs from suspected drug dealers.

    Six former members of the Philadelphia Police Dept.'s narcotics unit have been federally indicted, charged with using robbery, kidnapping and other tactics to shake down more than $500,000 in cash, property and drugs from suspected drug dealers.

  • SEPTA Rider: Couple With Toddler Seemed "Out Of It" On Train

    SEPTA Rider: Couple With Toddler Seemed "Out Of It" On Train

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:55 AM EDT2014-07-30 04:55:19 GMT
    Camera-phone video captured a disturbing scene aboard a SEPTA subway train. The video shows a shoeless toddler in a stroller and witnesses say the adults with her seem to be "out of it." The couple was on a train on the Market-Frankford Line on Sunday morning.


    Camera-phone video captured a disturbing scene aboard a SEPTA subway train. The video shows a shoeless toddler in a stroller and witnesses say the adults with her seem to be "out of it." The couple was on a train on the Market-Frankford Line on Sunday morning.

  • Nazi war suspect, 89, dies as extradition OK'd

    Nazi war suspect, 89, dies as extradition OK'd

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 5:22 PM EDT2014-07-23 21:22:14 GMT
    An 89-year-old Nazi war crimes suspect died in custody hours before a U.S. ruling Wednesday that he should be extradited to Germany to face trial.
    An 89-year-old Nazi war crimes suspect died in custody hours before a U.S. ruling Wednesday that he should be extradited to Germany to face trial.
Powered by WorldNow

KSAZ-TV & KUTP
511 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Phone: (602) 257-1234
Fax: (602) 262-0177

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices