Like father, like daughter


When Lenny Zakim, the late New England regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, was highly respected for his work promoting tolerance. So respected, in fact, they named a bridge after him.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. His daughter, Shari, 23, is a student leader at Northeastern University’s Hillel. And now she’s sparked quite a stir with a letter to The Boston Globe:

I am a 23-year-old wheelchair user. On New Year’s Eve I was having a wonderful time with my friends in Allston. After midnight, my sister, a friend, and I left a club on Brighton Avenue to go home by cab. It wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be.

Cab after empty cab from several different companies passed us by once they saw my wheelchair. One Top Cab driver stopped in front on us, clearly intending to pick us up. When he saw my wheelchair, he refused to unlock the doors, and then he drove off.

We know cabdrivers are allowed to refuse a fare if the passenger is dirty, drunken, or disorderly. We were none of these.

Finally, after numerous cabs passed us by, we were able to find one to take us home.

The irony of this is that the Top Cab logo is the Leonard P. Zakim-Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge. I am Lenny Zakim’s daughter. My father stood for civil rights, mutual respect, and the equal treatment of all people. I am sure he would have been as furious as we were at the treatment we received.

Boston’s cab companies need to instruct their drivers to honor the civil rights of all individuals. Our hope for the new decade is that people will pay attention to my father’s message and make our community more responsive to everyone’s needs.

Click here to read the Globe’s companion story.

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