A Romanian blind man traveling by rail with a guide dog claims a train conductor tried to prevent him from taking his place in a sleeping car, leaving him to call the police to resolve the problem.
The man, Silviu Rosu, had a ticket for the sleeper train from the capital, Bucharest to Cluj on January 27, but was physically barred from entering the sleeping car by a conductor because he had a dog with him.
In a Facebook post, he claimed he was harassed, and felt he had no option except to call the emergency services who sent a police officer to the train in the city of Ploiesti an hour later.
Romania’s state railways rejected his account and said the situation arose because fellow passengers objected to the dog and not the train guard.
Rosu, who studied Romanian literature and language at Cluj University, has seen an outpouring of support since his post on Monday, which has been liked more than 8,000 times.
Describing the encounter, Rosu said: “I told him there was a law that allows guide dogs in all kinds of transport, but he continued (haranguing) me without lowering his voice,” he said. “He continued to point to a second-class car, which was where I should stay in his opinion.”
“He continued to shout aggressively and didn’t try and find a solution to let me stay in the sleeping car. felt tired and humiliated.”
That’s when Rosu, who’s in his 20s, called the emergency number,112, and explained to the police what had happened.
When the train got to Ploiesti, “a woman police officer looked at my identity papers and I explained what had happened.”
“She said I was right, and told me to take my place,” he said. “The conductor finally understood but didn’t hesitate to tell me, beating his chest, that he was right, but because he was a kind person would find me a place.”
Other train passengers were friendly and welcoming, he said.
“They were inviting me to stay in their sleeping car, but the biggest problem was with this conductor with his outdated mindset, who seems to think we’re not allowed to travel with guide dogs.”
However, Romania’s state railways, CFR, said the fault lay with passengers who did not want the dog in the sleeping car and not the conductor. In a statement, CFR said the conductor had tried to find him another place to sleep “after the passengers in the couchette refused to have the man with the dog.”
Citing railway rules it said: “Animals that disturb other passengers or can cause damage are not allowed on trains.”
Rosu ended his post which has received 8,400 likes and 1,800 comments, concluding. “When will people change their mentalities, and be more understanding with those around us?”