A gay NYC couple was abruptly booted from their taxi Monday night by their driver, who told them they were not allowed to hug in his cab.
Paul Bruno and his partner hailed the yellow cab Monday night at 13th Street and First Avenue and sat close, Bruno told The Post. But the driver, identified by Bruno and city records as Medhat Mohamed, was apparently appalled by their shows of affection — and pulled the cab over two blocks into the trip. “You guys have to get out of the taxi! Hugging is not allowed in here!” the driver said, according to Bruno. Stunned, the lovebirds exited and watched the taxi peel away. Dissed passenger Paul Bruno called the incident in this Manhattan taxi “discrimination against homosexuals.” “I was shocked,” said Bruno, 27, who called the act “discrimination against homosexuals.”
The encounter took place at 10:20 p.m. after the couple attended a birthday dinner and hailed a ride to East Harlem. “To pull over after two blocks and be so blatantly intolerant is outrageous,” Bruno said. “He needs to exercise the rules in which he was employed a little more closely.” Both men said they hoped other cabbies didn’t share the same views on an innocent act. “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,” added Bruno, a lifelong city resident. The driver could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The Taxi & Limousine Commission is investigating. The driver faces discipline ranging from fines in the hundreds of dollars to revocation of his hack license. And before anybody launches into a rant against NYC’s Muslim cab drivers, we should note that incidents like this are relatively rare in NYC, where cabbies line up outside gay clubs every night.