Lyft driver says he was maced by rider, looking for answers

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Lyft driver says a rider attacked him over the weekend, and claims the rideshare company has been ignoring his pleas for help.

Mark Brown has been driving for Lyft and Uber for more than four months. He says he’s always polite and courteous to drivers, and goes out of his way to make sure they have a good time.

Friday night around 7:30 p.m., Brown picked up a rider known only as “Michael.” He had a dash camera running for the whole ride.

“He proceeded to open up a candy bar in the car,” Brown said. “The chocolate was overwhelming because the windows were closed and the air conditioner was on.”

Brown says eating in the car is against Lyft policy, and he asked Michael to stop. Michael agreed, but when they got to their destination and Michael got out, Brown noticed trash in his back seat.

“I said ‘Michael, can you please get the trash out of my vehicle?’ And at that point he said ‘OKAY!’ like that, real hateful,” Brown said.

When Michael reached back in, Brown says his eyes began burning. He says he called 911 and was treated for pepper spray.

“They flushed my eyes, my face, my nose and my mouth,” Brown said.

When police arrived to take a report, Brown called Lyft support to get Michael’s full name and date of birth. However, he says they made things difficult.

“Lyft gave us the run-around,” Brown said. “We went through the third supervisor. The third supervisor finally said that he was going to send me, not the officer, an email telling me how law enforcement has to get the information. Don’t make no sense.”

Mark says days went by with no response. However, after WWAY reached out to Lyft, a spokesperson did respond, saying:

“Safety is fundamental to Lyft. Our thoughts are with the driver, and we have reached out to extend our full support. We have also permanently banned the rider from Lyft, and stand ready to work with law enforcement.”

Brown says he has one major tip for other rideshare drivers.

“If you don’t have a camera that records on the inside, get one.”

Lyft said they had not yet received any inquiries from law enforcement. Wilmington Police says an officer responded, but they do not have an official report filed because Brown was not sure what had made his eyes burn.

Categories: Local, New Hanover

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