11.04.2009 4:30pm EST
The New York Post reported today that a New York City taxi driver kicked a gay couple out of his vehicle after he saw them hugging in the backseat.
Paul Bruno, 27, and his partner were sitting close to one another after hailing a taxi at 13th Street and First Avenue on Monday night.
Bruno told the Post that the taxi driver, Medhat Monhamed, pulled the car over after driving only two blocks and said, “You guys have to get out of the taxi! Hugging is not allowed in here!”
The couple immediately filed a complaint against the driver with the Taxi and Limousine Commision (TLC) by dialing 311.
Bruno said, “I don’t know if it was a personal or religious thing. But it’s never OK to deny anyone a ride, especially when it’s such blatant and direct discrimination.”
A spokesman for TLC said they would investigate and take this allegation seriously, resulting in a $200 to $500 fine for Mohamed if it is his first offense.
Both men want a formal apology from the driver.
Bruno said, “He’s in the wrong place and in the wrong line of work if he doesn’t have an open and tolerant attitude,” adding, “I’ve seen a lot more go on in taxis than hugging.”