A taxi driver in Calgary, USA has had his licence suspended for one month after he called a gay man ‘disgusting’ for kissing his partner in his car.
His licence was suspended after the passenger complained to the authorities.
According to Nolan Hill, he and his friend were at Nashville North, and left Stampede grounds around 11 p.m. to head to the city’s northwest in a Calgary United Cab. He said they mostly talked throughout the ride, but after he kissed his friend in what he called a “very simple peck on the mouth,” the cab driver from Nigeria, Stephen Eze became very upset.
“The cab driver said, ‘No, you can’t do that in my cab.’ And my friend said, ‘Excuse me?’
“He said, ‘No two men cannot be kissing in my cab. It’s disgusting.’ He said if we did it again, he would kick us out of the cab.”
Hill said his friend became visibly upset, and the two asked to be let out at the next exit instead of their original destination. Hill said when his friend told the driver they wouldn’t pay because of what happened, he started to drive away.
“He refused to let us out without paying, which was the scariest part,” said Hill. “So I said, ‘We’ll pay.’
We paid. We got out of the cab, and went to find a different cab. The driver got out and was yelling at the next driver we were approaching that ‘these men were kissing.’”
Hill said his friend was so upset, he threw a toonie on the dashboard at the end of the ride. He said that caused the driver to yell out that he’d been assaulted.
Nolan Hill reported the incident to 311 and turned to social media with a Facebook post that read:
“I was just kicked out of a taxi and told that I was disgusting for kissing another man. I have lived in Calgary my whole life, and have never been disrespected as much as I was tonight,”
His tweet read:
Last night I was called “disgusting” and threatened to be kicked out of a @CalgaryCab for being gay and kissing another man. #yyc
— Nolan Hill (@Nolanev) July 5, 2015
On Tuesday afternoon, Naeem Chaudhry, manager at Calgary United Cabs, announced that the licensed taxi driver Stephen Eze is suspended until August 5.
“He’s not driving with us,” he said. “We don’t allow (our drivers) to make comments on someone’s personal lifestyle.”
Once the suspension has been served, the future of Eze’s licence will be determined at a Licence Review Hearing. It’s possible Eze’s licence could ultimately be revoked, or he could receive additional suspension time or training related to diversity sensitivity.
United Cabs may be forced not to allow Eze to return to driving with the company following the Licence Review Hearing.