Disabled woman waits 15 hours for cab at north Texas hotel

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by BELO Affiliate

STEVE STOLER/WFAA

Posted on November 12, 2013 at 11:45 AM

DALLAS — A trip to Dallas ended horribly for a woman in town from Kansas City. She waited 15 hours for a cab at the Omni hotel downtown.

She watched cab after cab pass her while she looked for a ride that was wheelchair-accessible.

Tankisha Henderson is angry and frustrated. She says she's had to wait for cabs before to accommodate her wheelchair, but never for 15 hours.

Her ordeal started Sunday afternoon, when she decided to have dinner at the Omni. Henderson said after the meal, she just wanted to take a taxi back to her hotel in Grand Prairie.

That proved more than challenging. Her wait took 15 hours.

"And then finally, it was like, 'OK, no one's coming,'" she said. "They're saying, 'We can't allow you to stay here in the hotel.' I'm like, 'What do you want me to do? It's the middle of the night. It's cold. I'm not even from here. I don't even know where I'm at.'"

Henderson said she pleaded with the hotel staff to let her stay, which they did. But the taxi didn’t arrive until Monday morning.

"I was causing no problems," Henderson said. "Why would you not try to accommodate me?"

She spent the night — 15 hours — in the lobby anxiously waiting and waiting.

The City of Dallas transportation regulation manager told News 8 the 13 taxi companies that operate in Dallas are not required to have a set amount of special vehicles that can transport the disabled.

"I’ve had to wait for cabs in many different cities, but this is the first one I've been to where it's like, 'We can't come at all,'" Henderson said.

The managing director of the Omni hotel confirmed there was a problem finding a taxi that could accommodate Tankisha Henderson. But he said his staff did not ask her to leave.

He said the hotel's goal is always to make people feel comfortable — not to throw them out into the streets.

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