“I feel frustrated because I have to plan my day.I can’t do things on a whim. I have to plan it days in advance.”
—Valerie Joseph, litigant in class-action lawsuit accusing Uber of discriminating against New York City riders with disabilities by providing inadequate access to wheelchair-accessible cars .
Could there possibly be a better quote to exemplify the entitled mentality of so many Americans, and the unethical values they have somehow extracted from our political culture?
Yes, Valerie, you are handicapped. I’m sorry about that, but I’m not responsible for it. Nor are you entitled to make me, and businesses, and the government pay to ensure that society can mitigate every inconvenience created by your misfortune. You do not have the luxury of doing things “on a whim.” Neither do single mothers. Neither do small business entrepreneurs who have substantial debt. It’s your life, deal with it. I also have to plan my days because of circumstances beyond my control. It’s called adulthood. Grow the hell up.
The lawsuit Valerie champions, filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan by the non-profit Disability Rights Advocates is a classic. It is seeking to risk putting Uber out of business and remove its lower-cost transportation options for the vast, vast majority of the public by insisting on expensive retrofitting of the company’s cars that would benefit a tiny minority.
The Taxis for All Campaign filed a similar discrimination lawsuit over yellow taxis, virtual legal extortion that resulted in a settlement requiring half of all yellow taxis to be wheelchair accessible by 2020. Thus the litigants in the Uber suit already have an acceptable option: call a cab. There are now 655 wheelchair accessible taxis in the New York city area. I’d love to see statistics on how often they are used by the passengers they are designed to serve. My guess: not that often. As much as anything else, this is an interest group power-play. It is discrimination, they insist, if handicapped passengers have to wait longer than non-handicapped. New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission has proposed broad new requirements for wheelchair-accessible service for the entire for-hire industry including Uber and the other ride-hail companies. Naturally: they want to put ride-sharing companies out of business, and this could do it.
Government has a legitimate interest in making basic public accommodations reasonably and sufficiently accessible to citizens with handicaps, to the extent this is possible and financially feasible without reducing reasonable access for the non-handicapped majority, or putting companies out of business that can’t reasonably be expected to make expensive mandated adjustments. The government does not have an obligation to spend taxpayer dollars and to bully businesses so the handicapped can avoid all of the inconveniences attendant to their misfortune. Nor is it the government’s function to ensure that handicapped citizens don’t have to plan their days.
The fact that anyone would believe otherwise demonstrates how detached from common sense and the basic national value of personal responsibly our culture has become.