He was already seated in a taxi, his wheelchair stowed in the trunk, when Phil Menzel learned from the driver that he'd have to find another way home.
The reason? He thought it was his disability, but the cabbie and the taxi company have a different explanation.
Menzel, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis three years ago and has limited mobility, shrugged off the experience on Sunday.
"I'm kind of used to it," he said. "It's the first time a cabbie has ever denied me a ride, but a lot of other people discriminate."
The incident took place on Friday night at around closing time outside Cactus Jack's Saloon. Menzel had been at the club with a friend and decided to head home. Security staff flagged down a Kami Cabs taxi. No. 18 pulled up, staff placed Menzel's chair in the trunk and helped him into the car, but the cabbie refused to take him.
The security guys were as shocked as the fare.
"He (the driver) comes over and says, 'Why are you sticking me with this guy,' " one of them recounted.
The security guard didn't want his name published, but said it was one of the worst cases of discrimination he'd ever seen. With other staff, he helped Menzel out of the cab, got his wheelchair and flagged down a Yellow Cabs car.
Satinder Mann, general manager of Kami Cabs, said his drivers are allowed to reject a fare only if they feel there is a safety concern.
"Otherwise, they're not allowed to say no to any customer," said Mann, who immediately contacted his driver to find out more.
The driver, as it turned out, had recently returned to work with a motor vehicle accident injury that prevents him from heavy lifting. He said the passenger was quite drunk (which Menzel admitted) and felt he could not assist him into his residence.
"Three people were putting him in my car," said Sukh Bains, the cabbie. "How am I going to take him out?"
Bains said he offered to call a handicap van but his offer went unheeded. He also pointed to ongoing friction between staff at the nightclub, which operates a shuttle bus, and cabbies who feel their livelihoods are being undermined. The shuttle bus drops bar patrons at individual residences, which it's not supposed to do, Bains said.