Three maskless Uber passengers assaulted, pepper sprayed, and coughed on their driver over the weekend after he asked them to wear masks while in transit.
When three women entered Uber driver Subhakar Khadka’s vehicle, he asked that they wear masks. Two of the women complied, but the third refused. Videos posted to the third woman’s Instagram account indicate that Khadka did not initially realize she was maskless and only asked her to cover her face after he began driving.
Instagram user @keepinupwforeign, the woman on the far right of the Uber, documents the viral altercation. The three women start off reasonably calm but still upset as they argue that Khadka should have informed them of the mask requirement before they entered the car. (Uber currently requires all drivers and passengers to wear masks, according to a September post on its website.)
The situation escalates after Khadka cancels the women’s trip and tries to drop them off. When they refuse to exit his car, he drives to a gas station where the maskless woman could purchase a mask, according to an Instagram post from ABC 7 San Francisco reporter Dion Lim.
The women again refuse to exit the vehicle, despite Khadka’s repeated requests. He informs them that their ride is canceled, but they refuse to leave his car until another Uber arrives. An argument about this appears to have directly preceded the viral video.
All three women are wearing masks when the video begins, but the woman on the far right, seated directly behind Khadka, immediately rips hers off. “You know what, fuck the mask,” she says, before coughing in Khadka’s direction. Another woman pulls her mask down around her chin and claims to have COVID-19 as she laughs.
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The woman on the far right then lunges into the front seat and snatches Khadka’s phone. He quickly snatches it back, eliciting screams of anger from the women. They berate him for touching a passenger, despite the fact that she put her hands on his property without permission.
The women threaten Khadka repeatedly, claiming he is going to get “beat the fuck up.”
According to Lim’s post, the women did eventually exit the vehicle. An update also notes that Uber has banned the woman on the far right from using the service. “The behavior seen in the video is appalling,” a representative told Lim. “The rider no longer has access to Uber.”
Khadka also shared several screenshots of messages between himself and Uber. According to the update, one of the women “sprayed what is believed to be pepper spray in his car.”
Initially, Uber offered Khadka a measly $20 to clean his Uber and to make up for work time lost. When Khadka countered that $20 would not come close to getting the stain and smell out of his vehicle, Uber upped the payout to $40. Eventually, Khadka convinced the company to shell out $120.
@keepinupwforeign’s version of events is different than Khadka’s. She claims he tried to drop the women off “in the middle of the hood.” She also accused him of clout chasing and “kidnapping,” claiming on her Instagram story that he only shared the video to “go viral.”
Instagram users shared their disgust over the video and called on Uber to take action. On Reddit, where the post eventually migrated, commenters were harsher, calling all three women “entitled” and “fucking losers.”
Many made a game of tallying up the crimes the women committed. The general consensus seems to be assault, attempted robbery, and possibly criminal biological weapon use.
The Daily Dot has reached out to @keepinupwforeign and Lim.