The city has suspended a taxi driver’s licence for one month after a gay man complained the cabbie called him “disgusting” for kissing another man while riding the vehicle home from the Calgary Stampede.
Nolan Hill reported the incident to 311 and turned to social media after he says he was kicked out of a Calgary United Cab on Saturday evening.
“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,” he stated in a Facebook post that has been shared and liked hundreds of times.
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
Naeem Chaudhry, manager at Calgary United Cabs, said the driver was suspended by the company, as soon as he was made aware of the incident on Monday morning.
“He’s not driving with us,” he said.
“We don’t allow (our drivers) to make comments on someone’s personal lifestyle.”
Chaudhry said the city’s Livery Transport Services became involved in the case and video footage from the cab was turned over to investigators.
“The moment I heard, I called the driver, asked his side of the story, then we pulled the memory card from his camera,” Chaudhry said.
On Tuesday afternoon, the city announced that licensed taxi driver Stephen Eze is suspended until August 5, following “a complaint alleging discriminatory behaviour . . . toward two male passengers.”
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.
“Calgarians and visitors alike should feel safe when travelling in Calgary by taxi,” Mario Henriques, chief livery inspector, said in a city news release.
“In this situation, our investigation has shown the driver’s actions were neither professional nor courteous.”
Hill said in a prepared statement that he’s processing “what has been an overwhelming couple of days.”
He said he appreciates the “incredible support” he’s received since bringing the issue forward and noted he wanted to share his story to “highlight a broader issue in the city.”
“I am happy that people are talking about this. It is an important conversation to be having here in Calgary,” Hill said in the statement.
Chaudhry said the driver at the centre of the investigation has worked at United Cabs for about three months.
He said it’s unknown whether United Cabs will allow Eze to return to driving with the company following the Licence Review Hearing.