Passenger Says SEPTA Driver Mocked His Disability

Federal lawsuit claims the driver said: "Get up and give me some money. You can walk."


SEPTA bus | Jeff Fusco

A Philadelphia man says a SEPTA bus driver mocked his disability during a 2013 ride.

“Get up and give me some money,” the driver allegedly told the disabled man. “You can walk.”

Steven Gary sued in federal court last week, claiming the encounter with the Route 26 driver — identified as “John Doe” — occurred when Gary attempted to board the bus on a motorized scooter. Gary says he has “disease and/or injury” to his right leg that has left him with a disability.

According to the lawsuit, here’s what happened next:

Plaintiff boarded the bus on his motorized scooter, and showed his Medicare card to defendant Doe, which plaintiff believed entitled him to a discount.

Defendant Doe then demanded that plaintiff get up off his scooter and walk to the farebox to pay his fare, stating to plaintiff and in the presence of other bus passengers, “Get up and give me some money. You can walk.”

This statement by Doe caused plaintiff such embarrassment and emotional upset that he requested to be let off the bus.

Defendant Doe persisted in announcing to other bus passengers that plaintiff could walk.

Plaintiff then drove his scooter onto the bus lift to exit the bus, but one of the wheels to the scooter was hanging over the side of the ramp. Plaintiff told defendant Doe that he (plaintiff) might fall, to which Doe responded, “Go ahead and fall, you would just get up and walk anyway.

As the bus lift was lowered, plaintiff’s scooter did in fact tip when it reached the ground, causing damage to the scooter and bodily injury to plaintiff.

SEPTA officials declined to comment on the pending litigation.

Gary says the incident violates the federal Americans With Disabilities Act. He’s seeking unspecified “compensatory damages.”

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See the full lawsuit below: