Misadventure with a taxi driver who refused my guide dog

by Sara Fulco - 2017.01.18
Misadventure with a taxi driver who refused my guide dog
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Imagine almost missing a flight because your guide dog is not allowed in the taxi. That’s exactly what happened to Badia, a 27-year Italian student (blind for 7 years) and her dog Blanche, while in Brussels.

Can you tell us about your misadventure?

I was in the Belgian capital as a volunteer in the European Voluntary Service. I had to go back to Italy for an important university exam and when I stepped out the door to go to the airport, I discovered that the city was covered in a thick blanket of snow. I was totally unprepared. I had planned a to get to Zaventen by train and had not taken into consideration bad weather conditions. So, I decided to call a taxi. It arrived 50 minutes later. But, when I went to get in, the taxi driver stopped me because he did not want Blanche getting in the car with me.

What did you do when the driver told you he didn’t want your dog too?

I tried to explain that she wasn’t just any dog, that she was a guide dog for blind people. I tried to make him understand that I needed the dog’s help to get around. But, he did not want to listen. Suddenly, I felt totally lost: I hadn’t been in Brussels very long and I didn’t know the language very well, let alone the city. After numerous futile attempts to convince the driver to change his mind, I had to give up and call another taxi. But, due to the snow, that one arrived 50 minutes later too. Then, I was pretty sure I’d miss my plane.

But, what happened instead?

I was able to make my flight because the plane was late. The experience really affected me because I had felt lost, in a place that was completely unfamiliar to me. I was so glad to have had Blanche with me. I felt her closeness and her attempt to cheer me up, almost s if she were a human being. I know it’s strange to say because she is an animal, after all. But, we are so close that I am convinced that, together, we can overcome any difficulty.

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