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Saturday, September 7, 2019

They Called The Police On Me


Tonight, someone threatened to call the police on me. And I told them to go ahead and do that. Here's why.

I slept over at a friends house and brought along my dog. On the way home, one of the bus drivers took a look at me and my dog and told me he doesn't let me on with the dog. I got on anyhow, and sat down, putting the dog in my lap.

Snickers had a muzzle on her face.

I know the local laws.

The laws are that dogs are allowed on public transportation with a muzzle and as long as they're small enough to be on your lap.

She was.


The bus driver said that my dog was too big for the bus and he refused to drive with her on it. I said that my dog was small enough to be on my lap, I know my rights, and he should drive.

He said if I insist on staying on the bus with my dog, he will call the police on me. That I was stopping the bus from driving and therefore he'll call the police on me. I told him that he can call the police, I know the law, I know my rights, and I'm not doing anything wrong. And the only thing stopping the bus from going was his being stubborn and refusing to drive.

The other people on the bus pretty much all started yelling at me. That I was being selfish. That they needed to go places and I was stopping them.

You know what I could have done?

I could have tucked my tail between my legs, got off the bus, and hoped that the next bus driver wouldn't give me a problem about my dog.

But that's not what I did.

Integrity is doing the right thing, even if it means other people are going to yell at you. Integrity is standing up for justice, for the people who maybe don't have the guts or strength to do it themselves.

Why didn't I get off the bus?

Because justice matters to me.

I don't like that drivers make inane decisions not based on law, basically act like a dictator, and then expect you to kowtow to their demands.

There are laws and I have rights. The right to travel on public transportation with my animal.

I don't have money for a car. I don't have money for a taxi. I rely on public transportation. When I decided to get a dog, I specifically looked into the law. I wanted to get a dog that would be allowed to go on public transportation. So I got one intentionally that was small enough to go on my lap.

Refusing to drive with me because he decided my dog was "too big" despite it being comfortably on my lap (its about 30 lbs) is simply discrimination. Discrimination against people who can't afford other methods of transportation.

I didn't like that this driver felt he was above the law and could refuse me service.

So when he said he would call the police on me, I told him to go right ahead. When other passengers on the bus started yelling at me, telling me that I'd get a $200 dollar fine for what I'm doing, I told them that I know what the law is, I'm not breaking it, and if they decide to give me a fine, I'd take it to court and fight it, because I'm within the bounds of the law. He also said he'd tell the police to give me a fine for making the bus late and for public disturbance.

Why didn't I just get off the bus and wait for another bus?

Because this isn't the first time I've been refused service. This time I happened to be alone and not in such a rush (I did need to meet my soon to be ex and the kids, but it wasn't the end of the world if I was late), but there have been times when I've been waiting out in the hot sun, or waiting out in the freezing cold, or really late at night, and often with kids, and bus drivers broke the law and refused to allow me on the bus, and then we really suffered. I stood up because drivers need to learn that they can't just refuse customers service. They need to follow the law just like I do.

By getting off the bus and allowing this power hungry bus driver to get away with breaking the law, I'd just be encouraging him to do it some more. If the police came and he told the bus driver that he had to drive with me because I was following the law, the bus driver hopefully would have learned a lesson. And maybe he'd share what happened to him with other bus drivers and hopefully they'd learn the law too.

And if it meant risking a $200 dollar fine, which I would then fight in court because it isn't just because I broke no law, then I would do that.

I don't let myself get pushed around by bullies.

Not the bullying from a driver, nor the bullying of passengers who were yelling at me that I was at fault for making them late, instead of yelling at the bus driver for his bullheadedness.

So the police came. And I recorded the entire thing on my phone. The police man took my information, took the bus driver's information, asked me a bunch of questions, asked the driver a bunch of questions. I told him that I know what the law is and I know what my rights are, and I'm breaking no law, and there's no reason I should get a fine, and the driver should just drive.

The driver had a paper with him saying the rules of the bus, from some official source. And it said something about being small enough to go on your lap. Snickers was on my lap the entire time, and the driver was insisting that she was too big to be on my lap. I asked why he couldn't drive with me, the dog was bothering no one, was completely on my lap, and he just refused. Unfortunately the law is somewhat vague enough and doesn't specify a size exactly, so the bus driver felt it was within his right to deny me service, since there was nothing objective, just something extremely subjective.

The police man asked me to get off the bus, and I know when to be bullheaded and when not to be. I've heard enough stories of people getting into trouble for refusing to listen to policemen and that's not what I wanted. I made my point. I got off the bus, I got no fine, and was told by the policeman that I can then call up the bus company and make a complaint to them about the bus driver breaking the law.

And now I have to decide what I want to do about this. I looked up the law, which more specifically states "A passenger may board the bus with an animal bus, as long as its within the size that it may be placed on the passenger's lap, or the passenger may carry it in his hands." I didn't get a fine, so I don't have to fight that in court. But do I want to pursue this anyhow, to fight for the rights of people like myself with dogs, that can't afford cars or taxis, and get discriminated against on public transportation?

I still have to decide.

But I am proud of myself for not being a pushover.

When someone is on a power trip, you don't just put your tail between your legs and run away. Because that emboldens them to do the same with other people. Sometimes, if you can, standing tall and standing up for your rights is the best thing to do.



7 comments:

  1. Sorry this happened to you and snickers. Hope the driver gets reprimanded if you do make a complaint!

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  2. You did the right thing. I doubt this was the first time you took the dog on the bus and it was ok before, so why not now? It's too bad you had to get off the bus.

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  3. You did the right thing. Period.

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  4. I'd say register a complaint -- but be as polite as you can while doing it. Emphasize that you are a long-time customer. Companies HATE to see anything happen to customers using their service for a long time!

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  5. Definitely register a complaint but from what I've heard some drivers of buses, taxis, if it's against their religion or beliefs, refuse even blind people with their dogs as they view the dogs as unclean. Don't know if that was the case in your situation but since you said it's happened before that might be the issue. I applaud you for standing up for your rights though and working with the police. Stay safe.

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  6. The police response was wrong one way or the other. Either you were right and should be allowed on the bus, or not and should get a fine. Clearly he held that you were right, so HE should have stood up to the bus driver, but he was a wimp and instead pressured you.

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  7. You are a very brave person to stand up for what is right. It must have been extremely stressful. I feel quite sure I would have burst into tears with all the commotion. I hope that with your phone evidence they will compensate you in some way for such shoddy treatment. Congratulations you are my heroine of the month!;)

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