A Lyft passenger launched into a racist and homophobic verbal tirade against his driver simply because he was asked to wear a face mask.
A May 28 ride in Reno, Nevada, saw a passenger identified as Richard board driver Edgar’s vehicle. Edgar wore a mask while Richard, according to the dash-came footage seen by TMZ, did not.
When the driver politely asked the passenger to strap on a mask – a crucial tool in the fight to contain the coronavirus pandemic – he exploded into a racist and homophobic rant.
“You believe in that shit?” Richard asked the driver.
“Yes, I do because I have family who are sick from that [coronavirus],” Edgar replied.
Footage then shows Richard griping about the government, saying he doesn’t “trust” officials and that “it’s not the government – it’s the people who are getting sick”.
“It’s because we are really close right here in the car,” he said, before criticising Edgar for following the route to his destination as instructed by the Lyft driver app.
Eventually driver Edgar pulled over to ask his passenger to exit the vehicle. Richard refused, saying he had “a contract”.
“You represent Lyft, you little candy-ass faggot in your white glasses,” video shows him shouting.
“I should just f**king crush your f**king skull right now.”
He then mocked Edgar’s accent, calling him a “f***ing wetback [a slur used against people from Central or Latin America]” and claiming: “I’m an American, motherf***er. I fought three times in a goddamn war.
“Why are you [charging] me for a full-ride when you only gave me 100 yards of ride? How is that considered to be fair? Is that considered fair in your country?”
“Yes, because this is my country, too,” Edgar responded, before Richard finally exited the vehicle.
A representative from Lyft said of the alarming video: “The behaviour shown by the rider in this video is despicable and has no place on the Lyft platform.
“Lyft is committed to maintaining an inclusive and welcoming community, and discrimination is not tolerated.”
The necessity that comes with wearing a mask has emerged as a high water point for small pockets of Americans, roiled by state officials ordering people to wear face coverings which they see as an open challenge against the freedom and liberty they have long associated with America.
Recent weeks have brought with them footage of aggrieved supermarket tellers and security hurrying enraged customers refusing to wear masks out of stores. But with state officials and local authorities hastily loosening lockdown rules, the need to wear a mask is greater than ever before, health experts stress.