NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A New York City Councilman believes his skin color had something to do with him not being able to hail a cab in SoHo.
Councilman James Sanders, who is black, said that he and his daughter had just finished eating at a Little Italy restaurant last Friday and walked to SoHo, where she asked him to hail her a cab to Yonkers to see her mother.
According to Sanders, 20 cabs had passed by them without stopping over a 45-minute period.
“I went to the corner and I gave it my best New York try and try and try again,” Sanders told 1010 WINS. “I knew that this was not going to work.”
Sanders, who represents Laurelton, Springfield Gardens, Rosedale and the Rockaway’s, said that he then walked near a “ritzy hotel,” where he spotted a number of cabs stopping.
Sanders didn’t have much luck there either after he told them that he was trying to get his daughter to Yonkers.
“The first two told me they were off-duty, the second two basically told me, they were not going to go there,” he said.
When the councilman’s daughter tried to hail her own cab, she was also told that he wouldn’t take her to Yonkers. According to Sanders, the cabbie promptly drive “20 feet away and picked up a nice white couple.”
Sanders said he became enraged and called his friend, Taxi and Limousine Commissioner, David Yassky and told him “David we have a problem in New York City, this is outrageous.”
After the futile attempts to get a cab, an onlooker helped get the councilman and his daughter a livery cab.
“This is not an isolated incident,” Sanders said. “I have always had trouble hailing cabs and it is widespread.”
Sanders also lamented that many of those who fought for civil rights also fought for the rights of immigrants, who make up a significant percentage of cab drivers.
“I will defend your right with my last breath. Can I at least have justice in my own city?” Sanders said.
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