Taxi Driver Apologises After Telling Passenger She Smells

Carly Findlay
Carly Findlay

An Australian woman with a rare skin condition who was asked “what’s on your face” and told “you smell” by a taxi driver has received an apology from the driver’s employer.

Melbourne taxi company 13CABS has apologised to writer Carly Findlay for the incident on Thursday, July 4, where the driver said he was worried her face and smell would damage his vehicle.

Ms Findlay has ichthyosis, a condition which effects only 10 to 20 people per million.

Ichthyosis is a genetic skin disorder that causes dry, thickened, scaly or flaky skin. In many types there is cracked skin, which is said to resemble the scales on a fish.

The activist exited the taxi after the remarks, looked the driver in the eye and said: “F*** you”.

13CABS today told Ms Findlay it had requested the driver come in for an interview and attend training. The company has also requested Ms Findlay assist them with their diversity training.

“It’s the right outcome,” Ms Findlay said, adding the company’s apology was genuine.

“It might help the wider industry.”

The writer caused a stir late last week when she posted an account of the abuse she had experienced on her personal blog.

It is not the first time she has faced discrimination from taxi drivers.

A driver assumed she was drunk after she and a friend jumped in a cab after a concert in May because her face was flushed, one of the symptoms of ichthyosis.

In a taxi from the airport last October, Ms Findlay was told not to touch the seats of his taxi because he was concerned it would ruin his seats.

The chief operating officer of 13CABS, Stuart Overell, said the driver would be brought in for a “please explain”.

Ms Findlay has also complained to the Taxi Services Commission and is considering calling on the Australian Human Rights Commission to investigate.

She has been overwhelmed by the support she has received since the incident. Luxury taxi service Uber gave her credit to ensure she can get home safely in the future.