GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — When an Uber driver refused to give Chelsea Perry a ride, the 27-year-old who has used a wheelchair most of her life saw it as an opening.
“This just seemed like an opportunity to have a larger conversation,” said Perry, who wanted to use the interaction to raise awareness and prompt positive change.
For a couple years now, Perry has relied on Uber to get to work, and she says the drivers around Grand Rapids are usually helpful, breaking down her chair if necessary to make it fit in their vehicles.
But that wasn’t the case Monday when a driver arrived at her Kentwood apartment in a standard-size sedan.
“He said something along the lines of, ‘I’ve had a rider who uses a wheelchair before, and her chair did not fit in my vehicle. I’m sorry,’” recalled Perry. “I tried to interject, to say, ‘your car is accessible for me. I can make this work.’ But he didn’t let me get a word in edgewise… He kind of just shut his door and drove off.”
Perry said if a vehicle is truly too small to accommodate her chair, she would have no problem calling for another ride. But she said that wasn’t the case Monday.
Riders are not required to tell a driver beforehand that they use a wheelchair, and Perry did not do so Monday.