A Nigerian man living and working in Calgary, Stephen Eze, has faced sanctions for insulting two passengers who were kissing in his cab.
According to one of the lovers, Nolan Hill, he and his partner were at Nashville North but decided to leave Stampede Grounds around 11 p.m. They headed to the city’s northwest in a Calgary United Cab. Although Nolan and his partner talked throughout the ride, an altercation arose when he gave his boyfriend what he called “very simple peck on the mouth”.
The cab driver, Stephen Eze was said to have been upset and disgusted.
Hill said: 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.”
However, instead of their original agreed destination, the partners who were upset about the cabbie’s attitude towards them, decided to alight at the next bus stop. Hill said when his boyfriend told the driver they wouldn’t pay because of what happened, Eze started to drive away instead of allowing them alight.
“He refused to let us out without paying, which was the scariest part. 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, ” said Hill.
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.”
CBC News has however reported that on Tuesday afternoon, Naeem Chaudhry, the manager at Calgary United Cabs, announced that the licensed taxi driver Stephen Eze has been 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. It’s also unknown whether United Cabs will allow Eze to return to driving with the company following the Licence Review Hearing.
When the same sex law was made official in the US a few weeks ago, it caused outrage in more conservative parts of the world. The Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, in criticism of the law and to prove a point, asked for President Barrack Obama’s hand in marriage.