A Korean American woman quickly jumped into action to help defend a Filipino American Uber driver after hearing a passenger hurl racist and xenophobic comments towards him at LAX.
The incident occurred around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the LAX-it pick-up location, Stella Hwang told NextShark.
The victim’s sister shared a video of the man on Wednesday.
The Uber driver waited for his passenger for over 30 minutes at LAX, his sister explained in a Facebook post. The passenger threw a verbal tirade towards the driver after he refused the man’s request to sit in the front passenger seat.
As part of Uber’s safety health measure amid the COVID-19 pandemic, all riders must sit in the back seat of an Uber ride and open the windows for ventilation. Meanwhile, the maximum occupancy of UberX has also been reduced from four to three.
“My brother told him that due to COVID, he couldn’t sit in the front seat. The guy got out, slammed the door and yelled at my brother,” the driver’s sister wrote. “My brother informed him that he will just cancel the trip, so the guy wouldn’t get charged. He started yelling more and said, ‘You Asian Sh*t. You probably don’t have papers to be here!’”
While some social media accounts claim to have identified the man, they remain unconfirmed at this time.
Hwang was only observing the situation after hearing the passenger, who was with two boys, slam the driver’s door. However, she immediately came to the driver’s aid when she heard the man hurl xenophobic remarks.
“The Uber driver was timid, helpless, and in shock,” Hwang told NextShark. “There was a little bit of a language barrier so I had to say something.”
At one point in their confrontation, the passenger walks towards Hwang to tell her, “This is none of your business.” He also assumed Hwang was not married, telling her to, “Go get a husband.”
Hwang called him out for his actions in front of the boys, whom she later addressed, saying, “Hey boys, I hope you don’t turn out like him!”
The police appeared later in the incident following the recorded altercation but did not write a report, Hwang said.
“Didn’t bother asking me about my side of the story, didn’t ask if I wanted to file a report, he just said not to engage so that it doesn’t escalate,” she said. “They came after the fact it already escalated and nothing was done.”
Airport Police Sgt. Tarek Azmy told NextShark that no police report was generated, meaning there was “no crime.”
“We get several calls a night related to Uber. If they’re resolved and there’s no crime involved, there’s usually no report,” Azmy said. “And that was the case with this between the hours of 3 p.m. and midnight.”
The sergeant added: “As long as there’s no physical contact, which would be a crime, then there’s not much more we can do than try and help them resolve the issue.”
Uber has identified the driver as Mr. David and condemned the action of the passenger in a statement to NextShark.
“Uber does not tolerate racism or hate in any form, against any community,” a spokesperson told NextShark. “When one community is being attacked, we are all being attacked. We are shocked and saddened by the recent increase in anti-Asian hate, particularly when it affects a driver or rider.”
Additionally, the ride-hailing company has removed passenger’s access to use the app and contacted the driver to offer support.
NextShark has reached out to David for further comment and will update this article accordingly.
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Feature Image via Facebook