Oklahoma man says he was denied an Uber because he’s blind

Local

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma man who is blind says he missed his first court appointment as a lawyer because he was denied ride-sharing services.

KFOR first brought you James Blaise’s story after he passed the bar exam. A new challenge has arisen for Blaise.

James Blaise said he requested an Uber around 8 a.m. Thursday to get to the Oklahoma County Courthouse.

“I requested it at 8:25, but the driver didn’t accept until 8:35,” said Blaise. “I got an alert saying your driver will be there between 24 to 25 minutes.”

James has Retinoblastoma. It’s an eye cancer most commonly in children. It shows up in the retina and, in some cases, leads to blindness.

“From a very young age, my mom was like we are going to do everything in our power to live a normal life.”

And Blaise did just that. He finished in the top 10 percent of his high school class, went to college, then law school.

“I understand that I have to work twice as hard as my peers, but also I have learned that the best advocate for myself is me,” said Blaise.

Blaise said the first day on the job was a tough one because an Uber driver showed up but quickly pulled away.

“As soon as the car left, I got an alert on my phone saying my trip has been canceled,” said Blaise.

Blaise thinks it was because the driver saw he was blind. The Oklahoma Disability Law Center says Uber is no stranger to this kind of issue.

“ Uber and other rideshare services have had both private lawsuits and settlements with the department of justice,” said RoseAnn Duplan, with the Oklahoma Disability Law Center. “They should know they cannot discriminate against those folks just because of their disabilities.”

For James, the fight continued for those like himself. He’s sharing his story to bring awareness to disabilities.

“I was frustrated because my job reflects on me. It’s my responsibility to be there whether I drive or not,” said Blaise.

KFOR reached out to Uber, and they responded by giving Blaise a $15 credit. Blaise said that’s not enough.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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