The incident happened on Saturday, March 5, when the driver, who did not want to be identified, was picking up a passenger in the Vermont-Slauson neighborhood.
"I was driving for Uber. I got a ride request to go pick up a certain individual, and I got to that location and I was waiting. It got to five minutes and the rider had not shown up yet, so I went ahead and canceled the ride," said the driver.
The driver said he then received another ride request shortly after.
"I accepted it [ride request] and it was the person I had just canceled. I turn around, and I go back to the pickup location. The individual got in the vehicle and he said 'oh you're the driver who just canceled my ride request,' and I said yeah because you hadn't shown up," he said.
Still image of suspect who attacked an Uber driver over a canceled ride in South Los Angeles. (FOX 11)
The driver said the passenger started arguing with him, and called him "hostile." In the video, the driver tells the passenger he is recording the incident and asks the passenger to leave. The passenger asks if he will be refunded, and the driver tells him he will receive a refund. The passenger still gets upset.
"He just got aggressive with me and then he went and punched me and started hitting me and I jumped out of the vehicle and ran. I'm not sure if he followed me but he took my car keys. He ripped out the wires in my car and then took my cell phone," said the driver.
The driver said the keys were later found on the street away from his vehicle. The driver said he feared for his safety at that moment.
"I thought maybe I was gonna die. It was very, very scary. I called the police and the police came," he said.
The driver said he contacted Uber and has not heard back other than an automated message.
"To this date, Uber still has not responded to me. The only thing I received was from an automated email saying thanks for filing this report. That's sickening. How come they haven't responded back to me? Do they even care about us? Do they care about the drivers? It doesn't seem like it because normally someone would have responded immediately or should have responded immediately," he said.
He said he wants more support from Uber.
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"Driving Uber right now is almost ridiculous. A lot of people aren't driving because of the gas prices, and we're not making enough money," he said.
He hopes the passenger is arrested and charged.
"I hope police are able to find him and that legal action is taken against him. I hope he gets what he deserves. He needs to be put away for a while in jail because this is unacceptable," he said.
The driver said the passenger also canceled the ride before he could.
"He [passenger] canceled the ride before I was able to, which means there's basically no record on my end of this request coming through because it's not a completed trip," he said.
Therefore, the driver is unable to issue a review to warn other drivers about the passenger.
"Other drivers, we shouldn't be scared to go to work wondering if we are going to be assaulted today or are we gonna get killed," he said.
The driver said he has been doing some of his own investigating and was able to retrieve his stolen phone.
"I went and did a "Find my iPhone" and then I did find out where the individual [passenger] works and I did go down to the location and asked their management team if this person worked with them and they told me yes and I explained the situation and said he stole my phone and management said hold on one second, and then management handed me my phone," he said.
"The behavior in the video is disturbing and unacceptable. We've been in contact with the driver and have removed the rider's access to the Uber app," an Uber representative told FOX 11 Wednesday night. "Uber has pioneered many of the safety features that are standard in the industry today, including an in-app emergency button. This is on top of the core safety experience where every trip is GPS tracked, drivers must pass a background check, and riders are given the make, model, license plate, and driver name to verify their trip before getting into the vehicle. Our work on safety is never done, and we are committed to working with relevant stakeholders and officials at all levels of government to help ensure rider and driver safety on every trip. If a driver feels unsafe, they can cancel or end the trip at any time."
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