An Uber driver in San Francisco says that after he asked a passenger to put on a mask and pulled over at a gas station where she could buy one, he was insulted, racially abused, and pepper-sprayed by the woman and her two companions. Video of the Sunday attack shows the maskless woman loudly coughing on driver Subhakar Khadka before ripping off his mask, McClatchy reports. He says the three women pepper-sprayed him after leaving the vehicle. They also stole his cell phone, but one of them eventually gave it back, Khadka says. He says he was attacked after the women insulted him and he asked them to leave the car. "If I was another complexion, I would have not gotten that treatment from them," says the driver, who moved to the US from Nepal eight years ago.
"I never said anything bad to them, I never cursed, I was not raised that way," Khadka says. Uber and Lyft say they have permanently banned the woman seen coughing on Khadka. In a livestream recorded after the incident, the woman admits assaulting Khadka, the Washington Post reports. "All I did was smack—take his mask off and cough a little bit, but I don’t even have corona," she says. The San Francisco Police Department is investigating. Khadka tells KPIX that after multiple requests, Uber gave him $120 to have the vehicle cleaned. After hearing his story, early Uber investor Cyan Banister started a GoFundMe fundraiser for Khadka that has now raised more than $38,000. "He shared his video simply because he wanted justice," Banister says. "He didn’t expect any of us to step forward, but we did." (Read more Uber stories.)