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Lakeland woman who lost her eyesight says Lyft driver denied her a ride because of her service dog

Lyft takes any allegation of this nature seriously
Posted at 9:50 PM, Apr 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-18 23:14:00-04

LAKELAND, Fla. — A Lakeland woman said she was denied a ride with a Lyft driver because of her service dog.

Shauna English says she is mostly independent, but her service dog, "PJ," acts as her eyes.

"PJ is my everything. I call her my heartbeat because she brought life back to me the day we met," said English.

English relies on a service dog after she suffered a stroke in her eye in 2014. She lost her eyesight.

"I woke up with massive headaches in one side and I ended up having to lose an eye," said English.

She says she ordered a ride from Lyft last week, but the driver refused to let her get in the car.

"I ordered a Lyft and she showed up and rolled down her window and said, are you Shauna English? I said yes. That's when she told me I'd have to find another ride," she said.

English says a Lyft driver also refused to pick up her and her service dog back in March.

"You're standing there with your groceries and your guide dog and what are the options that you have?" said English.

She says she ended up taking the bus home. Her dog guided her the whole way.

English reported both incidents to Lyft and she shared those emails with ABC Action News.

We reached out to Lyft and a spokesperson sent us the following statement:

"Lyft takes any allegation of this nature incredibly seriously. As soon as we were made aware of these incidents, we immediately reached out to the passenger to offer our support.
Lyft's service animal policy requires that drivers may not deny service or otherwise discriminate against passengers with service animals. Failure to abide by that policy can result in deactivation from the Lyft platform. Any form of discrimination on our platform is simply unacceptable."

English said Lyft offered her a $5 dollar credit for each incident, but she says it's not about the money.

"Each driver needs to be responsible for the actions that they take and for the why did they do that and why they shouldn't do it again," said English.