Passenger's gas allegedly leads to racist tirade against Uber driver
An Uber ride in Kitchener turned into something more after a driver says his passenger became agitated and began calling him racist names.
Jose Peralta says he had to an early-morning trip short after a passenger became irate.
"I don't have to put up with the abuse, and the racial stuff is what really bothered me," he explains.
He says he had picked up three male passengers from an adult entertainment establishment in Kitchener just before 2 a.m. on Sunday.
Peralta says that one of the passengers repeatedly passed gas, setting off what he described as a disturbing series of events.
The driver says he pulled into a plaza to end the ride.
"The guy farts one time, he farts and you're not going to drive me home?" a man's voice can be heard asking in the recording.
One of the passengers then became aggressive, which is when Peralta began recording the incident on his phone.
Uber says all drivers have the right to end a trip at any time if they feel uncomfortable, but that didn't go over well with the angry passenger.
"Are you even allowed in Canada?" a man's voice can be heard asking Peralta at one point in the recording, bookended by streams of curse words, insults and racist remarks.
Peralta says he tried to keep his cool and not retaliate. He says he feared for his safety.
"It's three of them and I'm there by myself, I don't know what they're going to do," Peralta says.
Finally the passenger got out of the vehicle, but then Peralta says the man went to the driver side and pulled on the door handle.
In the recording, a voice can be heard telling Peralta to get out of the car. Another voice can be heard telling the angry person to stop.
Regional police say that Peralta did the right thing, saying that people in his position shouldn't engage and should call police immediately.
Uber says it has launched an investigation into the matter, saying it has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any forms of discrimination.
"The treatment of this driver was extremely disturbing to hear and we have reached out to the driver," an Uber spokesperson says in a statement.
"We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind and we’ve permanently deactivated this rider from the app."
Over at Waterloo Taxi, President Peter Neufeld says he's seen this kind of behaviour before.
"I've been at this for over 30 years and this is nothing new," he says.
He says that they've had to ban people from their cabs before.
All of their vehicles are equipped with video cameras, GPS tracking and an emergency button for drivers.
As for Peralta, the night of the incident, he went home earlier than usual.
"I was really upset, so I didn't want to be driving anymore," he remembers.
He's now back it, but hopes that the bumps in the road are behind him.
Police say that rowdy passengers could face charges of assault or uttering threats. In this case, the incident wasn't reported to police.
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