San Diego native Joe Canales was on his way to work on Friday, when a transit cop stopped him from boarding city's trolley and confiscated his discount transit pass. The reason: Canales didn’t have any proof of his disability, except for the fact that he was actually in a wheelchair.
In the video recorded from a mobile camera, a Metropolitan Transit System officer is shown writing a citation while the wheelchair-bound 31-year-old argues that he has an obvious disability. The cop looks annoyed but maintains his cool and doesn’t argue back.
“It’s his job to confiscate my card because I don’t have sufficient proof I’m disabled,” Canales says in the video. “Obviously I am. I’ve been disabled since I was three days old.”
He shared this video on Facebook and urged his friends and followers to share it. The clip soon went viral.
As per MTS policy, being in a wheelchair is not proof enough that a person is disabled. However, Canales disagrees and demands the city make some changes in the law. He believes the system is stripping him of his freedom.
“All people with discounted fares [are required] to carry proof of eligibility,” said MTS spokesman Robb Schupp in an interview. Furthermore, Medicare cards and disabled placard receipts may also be used as proof.