LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (CBSLA.com) — A former Major League Baseball player who now works as an analyst for ESPN said he recently became the victim of racial discrimination in the LAX taxi line.
Doug Glanville, whose baseball career included multiple seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs, said the incident unfolded last month after he and his travel partner, ESPN cameraman Joe Vandervord, arrived on a cross-country flight.
Glanville said Vandervord, who is white, was conversing with the cab driver without incident. The cab driver appeared ready to take the fare and even popped the trunk.
But when the cab driver saw Glanville, who is black, the driver told him to take the bus instead.
“When the driver saw me approaching to put my luggage in the trunk, he froze and his entire demeanor shifted,” Glanville wrote in the Atlantic. “His English was not strong, but it was clear. ‘Go across the street! You take the bus! It is $19!’ ”
“I knew what was going on,” he wrote. “The driver had concluded I was a threat, either because I was dangerous myself or because I would direct him to a bad neighborhood (or give him a low tip). Either way, given the circumstances, it was hard to attribute his refusal to anything other than my race. Shortly after we walked away, I saw the driver assisting another passenger, who was white.”
A taxi dispatcher attempted to persuade the driver to take the passengers, but the driver still refused.
An airport employee later told Glanville that she had seen three black customers be refused service in the course of her shift that night.
Glanville and Vandervord eventually departed in another cab and went on their way.
Glanville considered filing a complaint, since it is illegal for a taxi driver to turn down a ride based on racial bias, but he decided not to proceed with the complaint since he felt he could not identify the driver with certainty.
He said Authorized Taxicab Supervision was filing a complaint on his behalf.
“I’ve been refused service by enough taxi drivers that Uber has become a lot more attractive,” Glanville wrote.