‘It’s hard to feel helpless’: Toronto man claims he was kicked out of taxi for being gay
Katherine DeClerq, CTV News Toronto
Published Friday, November 2, 2018 8:06PM EDT
A Toronto man said that he was kicked out of a taxi cab Thursday night after mentioning his sexual orientation to the driver.
Travis Paul said he hailed a cab after going out for a drink with a few friends. He said he started a conversation with the driver and mentioned his boyfriend.
“About $10 into the fare, he just kind of said ‘you don’t have to worry about the fare’, this is where you can hop out kind of thing,” he said.
Paul said he began filming the interaction with the cab driver after he was asked to exit the vehicle.
In the video, the driver opens the passenger door and asks Paul to get out.
“We are not comfortable my friend. It’s okay,” the driver is heard saying.
When Paul asks him if he won’t drive him home because he is gay, the driver said “no. I did not say that.”
Paul is repeatedly heard asking if the reason why he was being asked to leave the vehicle is because of his sexual orientation. The driver eventually asks him to “leave me alone.”
Paul said he was a 30-minute walk from his residence at the time.
“I didn’t expect it to happen,” Paul said. “It was scary. It’s hard to feel helpless.”
Paul’s video, which runs for about three minutes and 30 seconds, was posted to Facebook and has been viewed more than 10,000 times.
“It needs to stop,” Paul said. “It can’t happen here in Toronto. It can’t happen here in Canada.”
The cab driver works for an independent company licensed through the City of Toronto.
The city told CTV News Toronto that they require all taxi drivers to comply with by-laws, which include not discriminating against customers because of race, religion or sexual orientation.
“The City takes these matters very seriously and will investigate this situation, based on the evidence in the video,” a spokesperson for the City of Toronto said in a statement.
Kristine Hubbard , the operations manager for Beck Taxi, believes that changes to mandatory training made by the city may lead to more incidents like the one that Paul alleges.
“Based on the new bylaw introduced in 2016, the City of Toronto voted to remove all existing mandatory training for taxi drivers because they wanted to ‘level the playing field’ for Uber,” Hubbard said in a statement.
The previously mandated training consisted of a 17-day course that included sensitivity training and training that adhered to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
-With files from CTV News Toronto's Brandon Rowe