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Local Doctor Suffering From Huntington's Disease Denied Cab Ride

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A local doctor battling a disease that impairs his speech and movement says he was denied a taxi ride because the driver thought he was drunk.

For Dr. Andrew Tomasi walking is a struggle, and sometimes, so is talking. He was struggling with both a couple nights ago when he tried to get a cab in Shadyside.

"Since I have a neurological disease, it kinda makes me look like I'm drunk, even when I'm not drunk cause it causes me slur my speech, and stumble and kinda walk funny," Dr. Tomasi said.

Dr. Tomasi has Huntington's Disease, a degenerative disorder that effects speech and movement.

The doctor says several yellow cab drivers just didn't want to hear that.

"When I was walking towards the cab, he ended up essentially saying, 'You're too drunk to get in my cab.' And he basically closed the door and sped off," said Dr. Tomasi.

So, Dr. Tomasi called another cab.

"When he arrived, he basically had the same reaction, I appeared too intoxicated," Dr. Tomasi said.

Finally, after the third attempt to get a cab, the police were called.

When police arrived, they realized the doctor wasn't drunk, that he has a disability. They told him they were sorry. They indicated the cab company was wrong, but they didn't have to give him a cab ride.

KDKA's Marty Griffin: "Were you combative?"

Dr. Tomasi: "No."

Griffin: "Were you drunk?"

Dr. Tomasi: "No."

Griffin: "Were you yelling?"

Dr. Tomasi: "No."

Dr. Tomasi finally got home at 6 a.m., six hours after the ordeal began. Since then he has talked with Yellow Cab. He says they promised to talk with and work with their cabbies.

"I guess the old adage; don't judge a book by its cover. Just try to understand the situation; it may not be exactly what it looks like," said Dr. Tomasi.

KDKA also talked with Yellow Cab. A spokesman said they are concerned about the incident, and they are conducting a complete investigation.

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