Uber, Lyft ban passenger who ripped off her mask, coughed on driver; police investigating

A video that shows a ride-sharing passenger ripping off her mask, coughing on a driver, attempting to steal his phone and breaking the driver’s mask has prompted a police investigation and bans from both Uber and Lyft.

San Francisco police say the incident occurred Sunday and a 32-year-old driver for Uber was the victim. The conflict began as one of three passengers refused to wear a mask, prompting the driver to end the ride, police say.

“An altercation occurred and a second passenger reached over the driver’s seat (from the rear seat area) and stole the driver’s cellphone from his hands,” police said.

“The suspects exited the car and the third passenger reached into an open window and sprayed what is believed to be pepper spray into the vehicle and towards the driver. The suspects fled the scene.”

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In May 2020, Uber introduced a “No Mask, No Ride” policy, which requires that drivers and riders wear a mask when giving or taking rides.

After ABC7 News, San Francisco reporter Dion Lim tweeted a video of the incident, both Uber and Lyft said they have banned the rider. The video depicts multiple riders yelling profanities at the driver as well as two maskless passengers coughing in the driver’s direction.

Lim and the Washington Post have identified the driver as Subhakar Khadka, an Uber driver. A GoFundMe that says it is raising money for Khadka has received more than $30,000 in donations.

“Driving in a pandemic is not easy. Please wear a mask, respect one another, and be a good person,” Lyft said in a tweeted statement.

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