Uber driver denies ride to blind man with service animal, officials say

Simon Nau charged with battery, failure to transport a blind person

ORLANDO, Fla. – A man reported to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office that he was denied a ride in a Uber car because he had his service animal with him.

The incident happened on the Fourth of July when the victim, Robert Stigile, called for an Uber at the Bahama Breeze restaurant on International Drive for himself and a group.

Deputies said the Uber driver, Simon Nau, told Stigle “I don’t take dogs,” when he arrived to at the restaurant.

Officials said Stigile told Nau that the K-9 was his service animal and not a pet., and that Nau stated, “I don’t care.”

Deputies said Stigile was in the door frame of the passenger side of the van talking with Nau.

Stigile told deputies he felt the car move forward and the door frame hit him on his left side and became fearful that the car was going to drag him.

He allegedly started to swing and yell for Mr. Nau to stop the car.

Stigile told deputies that he is 100 percent blind and his service animal is trained to help in his daily life.

Mr. Nau told deputies what happened and began to laugh about the incident and “didn’t full understand that he had broken the law, the report said.

Nau was charged with failing to transport a blind person and battery.

He has bonded out of jail.

Stigile wrote on his Facebook page that he would be in Orlando attending a convention for the National Federation of the Blind.

Nau told News 6 he knew Florida law required taxis to transport service animals, but didn't know that also applied to his personal vehicle.

He also said that his daughter is allergic to dogs, and she would be riding in the vehicle the next morning.

Nau claims one of the men grabbed him by the shirt, assaulting him. Nau is charged with battery.

Uber told News 6 that their policy requires drivers to transport service animals and that Nau's actions are unacceptable.

The company also said it is disturbed to read the details of the accusations from the deputy's arrest report.

About the Authors:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.