Alex Dugdale and Kylie Steinbach needed a ride between Seattle’s Lake City and Shoreline neighborhoods to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, so they hopped onto Lyft.
Their assigned ride-hail driver arrived early and they complimented him on his punctuality, the couple told KING. But when Dugdale and Steinbach asked the driver to make a stop at 7-Eleven on the way, they say things took an ugly turn.
“You know what, you guys can get out of here,” the driver told them. “I am canceling your ride. Get out of my car.”
As they exited, a bewildered Steinbach, who is white, asked why they were being kicked out, she told KING. Dugdale, who is black, suggested the driver might not like mixed-race couples. The driver exploded, rolling down his window and shouting profanity at them, Dugdale said.
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“He said that word,” Dugdale said. “He said the n-word, and because of that it took it to a whole other level of harassment.”
The couple reported the incident to the Seattle Police Department, which told KIRO it has opened an investigation. They also called Lyft to complain, but were left disappointed by the response, Steinbach said.
“I told them there was an altercation with the driver and they didn’t even ask what the altercation was,” she told the station. The person on the phone simply promised not to assign the driver to the couple again, Steinbach said.
In a statement, Lyft spokesperson Kate Margolis told KIRO, “This type of behavior would constitute a violation of Lyft’s anti-discrimination policy, which can result in permanent deactivation from the Lyft platform … We have reached out to the driver and passenger. Both parties are alleging inappropriate behavior and we are continuing to investigate this incident.”
Dugdale and Steinbach deny any inappropriate behavior or harassment of the driver.