An Oregon woman says a U-Haul store allegedly discriminated against her because she is transgender.
“Pretty much from the moment I walked in the door, just his demeanor, his look, his attitude towards me was completely different than what it was towards other customers," Annah Kaye Smith, 28, who is now suing the store, told KPTV.
Smith said she made a reservation with her wife so they could rent a van from the Gresham U-Haul store to move a couch one year ago.
Despite the fact that she booked a van ahead of time, the U-Haul employee reportedly told her she would need a different size van and that they didn't have any at their store. He then said he would transfer her to another location.
When Smith looked outside, she saw three parked vans, so she went back to question the man.
“He immediately looks at me and says, ‘Can I still help you?’" Smith recounted. "And it’s like ‘yes, is that specific van outside for our reservation?’ And he looks directly at me and says ‘Yes, but I’ve already transferred you.’ So at that moment, I knew something was definitely wrong."
She was forced to go to the other location. Upon arrival, the woman discovered it was closed, reports Oregon Live.
Smith said she was scared driving to the other store.
"It just freaked me out when I was pulling into that darkened, dimmed place," Smith said.
Smith said she reported the incident soon after.
"I wouldn't want that to happen to anyone again," Smith said. "All I really wanted was an apology from them, and I didn't get that.”
She explained that she tried to enlist the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries to help her, but that didn’t work out.
Smith decided to file a $75,000 lawsuit afterwards.
While U-Haul admits they did have a van available at the original location reserved for Smith, they said this was just a matter of “poor customer service.”
Smith said the experience has left her shaken and anxious, but determined to fight back.
“Whether you’re trans, or not – whether you’re a human being – this shouldn’t happen,” Smith added. “You shouldn’t be discriminated against.”
Smith filed her lawsuit during the week of Jan. 17.