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Caught on camera: Melbourne taxi driver refuses pair of young war veterans with PTSD because of their assistance dog

This is the shocking moment a taxi driver refused to take two Afghanistan war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder to hospital because they had an assistance dog with them.

Former soldiers, Sean, 24, and Joshua New, who were injured during their service, had to get picked up by a nurse after the driver repeatedly ignored their pleas to be taken back to the hospital.

Footage has emerged of the Melbourne driver telling the men ‘I can’t pick you up’ despite the fact that their pet Lucky is an assistance dog, which are legally allowed in taxis the same as guide dogs.

‘Are you going to walk away from two patients?’ one of the former soldiers can be heard telling the driver, who refused to pick them up from Northland Shopping Centre on Sunday.

Footage has emerged showing the moment a taxi driver refused to take two Afghanistan war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder to hospital because they had an assistance dog with them

Shocking moment taxi refuses veterans because of assistance dog

‘You’ve got two patients who need to go back to a mental health ward with a PTSD mental health assistance dog. And you’re going to make us wait for another b***** taxi.’

The other ex-soldier, who was filming the encounter, then said: ‘You’re allowed to take guide dogs or assistance dogs.’

 

And despite the friends arguing that the driver had seat covers, he just shook his head, saying: ‘No, no’.

The taxi driver could even be heard telling the men to ‘follow the law’ in the video which had been viewed more than 3,000 times.

Former soldiers, Sean, 24, and Joshua New (pictured with his dog Lucky), had to get picked up by a nurse after the driver repeatedly ignored their pleas to be taken back to the hospital

Former soldiers, Sean, 24, and Joshua New (pictured with his dog Lucky), had to get picked up by a nurse after the driver repeatedly ignored their pleas to be taken back to the hospital

The taxi driver could even be heard telling the men to ‘follow the law’ in the video which had been viewed more than 3,000 times

‘This is the f****** law. I am following the law. I am allowed in this car because I have the right to have my assistance dog,’ one of the men said.

‘You know nothing mate.’

They then told the driver he was ‘not doing his job’ by refusing to take the vulnerable men to hospital.’

To which the taxi driver replied that the soldiers, one of whom suffered back and foot injuries when his army vehicle was blown up, should go and ‘get a job’.

‘We’ve done a f****** job. I was in Afghanistan. I’ve fought for this country mate,’ one of the men replied.

‘I’ve got a dog because I fought for this country.’

Mr New posted the video on Facebook saying: ‘Last night at North lands shopping centre, a driver, accepted our fare then refused it once he realised Lucky wasn’t a guide dog.

Mr New posted the video on Facebook saying: 'Last night at North lands shopping centre, a driver, accepted our fare then refused it once he realised Lucky wasn't a guide dog'

Mr New posted the video on Facebook saying: ‘Last night at North lands shopping centre, a driver, accepted our fare then refused it once he realised Lucky wasn’t a guide dog’

‘We said he was a mental health assistance dog and we need to get back to the hospital but he just told us to get a job and refused to take up. I’m sure Lucky is more behaved than most of his passengers on a Friday night.’

Sean’s mother, Katrina Rudland, broke down in tears when she told 3AW Mornings about the men being abandoned at the side of the road.

‘They have seen some horrific things like lots of the guys out there. This is pretty horrible.

‘He is a very different boy. He’s got a number of issues. Sean was in a vehicle that was blown up so he was haloed out.’

She said the dog was clearly marked as an assistance dog with a vest showing his role.

‘Lucky helps them get through the day. He gives hugs ad kisses, unconditional love. He had a vest on. He is as important as a guide dog.’

Drivers who refuse passengers with guide or assistance dogs can be fined up to $400 by the Taxi Services Commission. If the matter ends up in court, the offender can lose up to $1,500.

A spokesman for Silver Top Taxis said the driver, who has more than 15 years experience. had been interviewed and cautioned but would not be sacked.

Sumit Arora told the Herald Sun the company was disappointed with the driver’s ‘unprofessional and unacceptable’ actions.

‘We do not stand for any driver who will act in this way,’ he said. ‘No member of the public should ever face this.

‘We urge all taxi drivers out there that they are out there to serve the community; and that’s what they must do.

The Taxi Service Commission is investigating, and has the power to fine the driver up to $400 for refusing to take an assistance animal.

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