An unmasked woman who coughed on an Uber driver in San Francisco and grabbed his cellphone in a profane rage admitted she was disrespectful, but claimed the situation could have been avoided. (Watch the video below.)
Video of the confrontation went viral while police investigate. No arrests had been made as of Tuesday, cops told HuffPost. Names of the passengers haven’t been released.
According to police, the driver picked up the three women on Sunday, but ended the ride a short time later because one refused to wear a mask. That’s when the confrontation erupted, with one of the passengers coughing on the driver, snatching his cellphone and pulling off his mask, while the two others screamed profanities and insults.
In a social media clip spotted by San Francisco’s CBS affiliate on Tuesday, the coughing passenger gave her side of the story, downplaying her aggression. “All I did was take his mask off and cough a little bit,” she said.
“OK, yeah, I ain’t gonna lie,” she continued. “That was disrespectful as fuck. I was dead-ass wrong for that. But it could have been avoided.”
She accused the driver of trying to drop the passengers in an unsafe neighborhood. “He could have just waited and made sure we were safe,” she said.
She threatened to sue Uber, which in a statement on Monday called the behavior of the passengers “appalling” and banned her. Then she made an impromptu endorsement of Uber’s rival.
“That’s why I take Lyft!” she declared.
Not anymore she doesn’t. Lyft banned her as well.
“Although this incident did not involve the Lyft platform, the unacceptable treatment of the driver in this video compelled us to permanently remove the rider from the Lyft community,” the ride-hailing company said in a statement to KPIX. “Driving in a pandemic is not easy. Please wear a mask, respect one another, and be a good person.”
The driver, Subhakar Khadka, said one of the women pepper-sprayed him as they left the vehicle. Khadka, 32, from Nepal, also said the women yelled bigoted remarks because he’s an immigrant.
In other videos that preceded the altercation, the women refuse to leave the vehicle until another Uber arrives, and Khadka threatens to let them off “in the middle of the freeway” if they don’t exit immediately, CBS noted.