Cab no-show, life at risk

Alanna Kelly

A terminally ill man was stuck in his wheelchair and without medication for more than four hours after a Kelowna taxi company left him stranded.

Donna Choboter called Kelowna Cabs at 11 a.m. June 23 to arrange a taxi to pick-up to return her husband, Brian, to Cottonwoods Care Centre.

Brian is paraplegic and hadn’t been able to visit his home in almost six months.

She invited family to come over and visit, but the day ended in a nightmare that put his life in jeopardy.

Choboter asked for a wheelchair-accessible taxi to return at 8:30 p.m. that night. She and her husband were waiting out front, but a taxi never showed.

“I made a phone call to Kelowna Cabs to inquire about my reserved cab and was told it was in the neighbourhood,” she said. “I made three additional phone calls and was consistently told the cab was either in our neighbourhood or very close by.”

Finally, at 10:26 p.m., she called a fourth time and was told “a wheelchair cab was no longer available.”

At that point, he had missed his medication, and Choboter said he had no control of his bladder.

“He was exhausted… he can’t be in a wheelchair for that long,” she said. “He has three tumours up his spine.”

The family panicked and called the fire department.

“They tried to help us put him in a vehicle, but his paralysis is too great. It was too dangerous to take him by vehicle,” she said.

An ambulance was called and finally, just after midnight, Brian was returned to Cottonwoods. Exhausted, he was also stuck with the bill for the ride.

“When a cab company feels they can treat you in such a manner … it is appalling,” she said. “It was very distressful.”

Choboter reported the incident to the Passenger Transportation Branch.

A spokesperson from Kelowna Cabs could not be reached for comment.


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