A size 28 carer says she was told by a cab driver that she needed a bigger taxi when she tried to hail a ride.
Kyer Hoskin was about to get into a taxi after depositing cash at a bank in Cambridge when she claims the driver ‘looked her up and down’ and suggested she travel in a larger vehicle.
The mortified 29-year-old, who has a binge-eating disorder, went to the next vehicle along and has lodged a complaint to Cambridge City Council.
Kyer claims she would have been able to ‘comfortably’ fit into the car with a regular seatbelt as she doesn’t require an extender.
She had travelled into the city centre that morning with no problems and is now speaking out about her distressing experience last month to ensure no-one else faces the same thing.
Someone claiming to be the taxi driver’s colleague wrote on social media that the cabby was putting Kyer’s ‘safety and interest’ at heart as there is less leg room in the hatchback in ‘comparison to a multi seater’ and previously another ‘big individual’ was unable to put the seatbelt on.
Kyer, who is currently in between jobs, has an email showing the council responded in writing to say her complaint would be logged on the driver’s personal file for future reference.
Cambridge City Council confirmed any allegations made against licensed drivers would be thoroughly investigated and ‘appropriate enforcement action taken’.
Kyer, from Chesterton, Cambridgeshire, said: “I approached the first taxi in the queue and asked him if he took card [payments].
“He was umming and aahing about the wifi on his phone and said ‘it might not work when we get there so please make sure you have cash’ but nobody carries cash at the moment because of Covid.
“Then he looked me up and down and as I was about to get into the back of the cab he said ‘don’t you think you might need a bigger one like that one over there?’
“I said ‘I’m not going to get in if you’re going to be like that’ then I went to another taxi.
“I spoke to the driver and said ‘he’s fat-shamed me saying ‘do you need a bigger cab because you’re not really going to fit’.
“The driver said it was disgusting and I said ‘Is it? it’s quite normal for me, I do get it quite a lot’.”
Kyer blasted people’s ‘ignorance’ towards bigger people and said ‘thoughtless’ comments could end up triggering people.
Kyer said: “There’s a reason for why I’m big, I suffer from a binge-eating disorder and not a lot of people understand that very well.
“It made me angry, [comments like this] get me quite upset. It annoyed me, nobody should speak to me like that, but I’m quite used to it.
“The week prior to this I had actually nearly been taken off the road off my moped by some people calling me a ‘fat c* get off your moped’.
“You wouldn’t believe some of the responses I had on social media. One lady was trying to be supportive but she worked for Slimming World and decided to send me some vouchers.
“It’s not my size that’s the problem, it’s the ignorance that’s the problem.
“It’s hard being big, there’s just no need for people to make it worse by having a go at somebody about their weight.
“It’s only going to make the situation worse because they’ll end up going home feeling sad and then bingeing because they feel bad.”
Upset by the experience, Kyer reported the taxi driver and received a reply stating it was the first recorded complaint that the driver had received and the incident had been placed on his personal file.
Kyer said: “I don’t have problems with taxis generally, it’s not like I need a belt extender usually.
“I kind of get he was trying to be nice in case the seatbelt didn’t fit but that’s not my problem.
“He’s a taxi driver, if a seatbelt doesn’t fit surely he should have an extender available to him?
“I shared what happened to me so it would stop people from being ignorant and maybe it would help somebody else.
“A written apology from him would have been nice, that’s what I would expect from anybody.”
Kyer said people should think before commenting on someone’s size as the repercussions could be extremely hurtful and even life-changing.
Kyer said: “If I had the chance to speak to that driver I would probably say ‘be mindful of what you say to somebody’ because especially something like that because you could end up killing them.
“I know that sounds dark but in this day and age it’s very true. I know people say sticks and stones… I honestly think words are worse.”
After sharing her experience on Facebook, social media users flooded the comments with supportive messages – including one apparently from a colleague of the driver in question.
The colleague wrote: “A colleague shared a screenshot in our taxi WhatsApp group and I did get in touch with the driver in question to hear his side.
“He felt that you may ‘struggle’ in his [car] as there is ‘less leg room in comparison to a multi seater’.
“Previously another ‘big’ individual experienced difficulties and he was unable to put the seatbelt on. I am assured your safety/interest was at heart. “
“A Cambridge City Council spokesman said: “As Licensing Authority, we take the behaviour and conduct of our licensed taxi drivers extremely seriously.
“Our officers work hard to seek to ensure all our licensed drivers are fit and proper, deliver a high standard of service; and protect the health and safety of the public at all times.
“Any allegations made against any Cambridge City Council licensed taxi driver is thoroughly investigated by the Authority, and appropriate enforcement action is taken in accordance with our licensing enforcement policy.”