In the past we have all seen the embarrassing videos of shop assistants or restaurant owners refusing people with guide dogs to enter their premises. Widely shared on Facebook and other social media, they make us cringe with disgust. After all we do understand that guide dogs are special. They have an undeniable role in making people’s lives not only easier, but their activities at all possible. They fill their duties gloriously and for that deserve a certain respect.
Although such approach seems quite obvious, people with sight or hearing loss still encounter refusal from taxi drivers on an everyday basis. If you have ever got turned away by a driver because you were too drunk or too naked, try to imagine the embarrassment and disappointment that follows it in broad daylight, without an actual reason other than: you have a dog, and he’s got fur. These drivers don’t care that the dog is what lets the owners leave the house, visit friends, or get to work.
Seeing guide dogs on the streets, after suppressing the urge to pet them, we should view them more as humans, professionals performing their everyday tasks. We used this comparison in our most recent release for Guide Dogs. The video featuring BAFTA winning actor Jason Watkins and comedians Toby Williams and Paul F Taylor, shows how absurd it is for taxi drivers to turn down a guide dog.
If you have ever tried to transport a cat in an Uber, you have heard some of the excuses people make. They can vary from “I don’t accept animals”, through “It’s going to make a mess and scratch my already repulsive seats”, to “I have an allergy”. Allergy to what? Probably only common sense. Although the Equality Act deems it illegal to refuse guide dogs to entry services, premises, or vehicles, people still encounter such situations way too often. This is why Guide Dogs decided to take action and asked us for help in spreading the word.
In just over a week the film has received over 750,000 views and has been shared almost 7000 times. The impressive results prove that you don’t always need a huge budget to get people to watch and share. It’s sometimes just a simple idea executed well mixed with a lot of hard work.