Blind woman applauds rideshare app’s message to drivers after sharing her story

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Jordan Reiche is legally blind and says she doesn’t go anywhere without her guide dog, Blue. She’s been having trouble getting rideshare drivers to consistently pick up her and Blue.

After sharing her story with Better Call Behnken, Uber sent a message to some drivers, reminding them of the law and their requirement to follow it.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “Obviously, when I shared my story I hoped that I could maybe bring about some change but I didn’t really realize it could happen, so it’s kind of surreal.”

A week after our story aired, Reiche was thrilled to learn of an email Uber sent drivers, one that reminds them to confirm acknowledgment that federal law requires them to pick up consumers with service dog and says “there are no exceptions for allergies or religious objections.”

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Reiche says she was born with a genetic condition that causes gradual vision loss from the outside in, meaning she can only see images straight in front of her, and not very well. The condition is worsening, and Blue helps her navigate the world and travel to work.

Three times a week, two times a day, she says she uses rideshare services to commute from downtown Tampa to Largo. She says about once a week a driver refuses to allow Blue in the car, which is against the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“It’s stressful. I never know if Uber is going to deny my ride or not,” she said last week.

This week, she said she has had no problems since our story aired and hopes it stays that way.

“I think it’s just education,” she said. “I don’t think anyone wants to deny outright for any ill will or anything. So I think everyone knowing it’s the law and it’s the policy will really help. I know that Uber investigates ever denial. I think they do a great job at that, but the whole point was to try to prevent it from happening in the first place. So I think just educating all the drivers will really help make a difference.”

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