Lyft driver captures racist rant in Issaquah

VIDEO: Lyft driver captures passenger's racist rant on camera

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — A Lyft driver, who picked up a couple in Issaquah, recorded a racist rant. The driver said the man was mad that he was asked to wear his mask in the car.

David Kangogo, 30, picked up the couple at Malarky’s Sports Grill on Tuesday night. When the woman came out, she was wearing a mask, but the man with her was not. She asked her husband to put on a mask, and they got in the car.

Soon, Kangogo noticed the man had removed his mask during the ride, which was only going to be about seven minutes.

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“I said, ‘Hey, sir. Could you kindly put on your mask?’ And he didn’t anything. It was quiet. I said, ‘Hey, sir. Put on your mask, please, for my safety and the passengers I’m going to pick up after this,’” said Kangogo.

He said the man didn’t answer, so he asked him again. That’s when he said the man called him the “n-word” and refused to put on his mask.

“I was like, ‘Oh, God. This is not happening.’ You always see this stuff on social media. I just never thought in Seattle, Washington, it could happen to me,” said Kangogo.”It was clear his problem was not the mask. His problem was a Black man telling him what to do.”

Kangogo said he told the couple he was not taking them to their destination in Sammamish and pulled into a parking lot.

Kangogo said he recorded the incident so that if the couple complained he’d ended the ride, he could show Lyft what happened. The racist rant goes on for more than 90 seconds.

He shared it with his roommate, who posted it on Twitter. It has been seen more than 400,000 times.

A Lyft spokesperson told KIRO 7: “There is no place for discrimination of any sort in the Lyft community, and this behavior is absolutely unacceptable. We have permanently removed the rider from the Lyft community and have been in touch with the driver to offer our support.”

Issaquah Mayor Mary Lou Pauly saw the video and posted on Twitter, “Let me make it clear: Racism has no place in our community. We must all respect each other (and #MaskUp, Issaquah). Here’s how we’re committed to equity:”

Kangogo came to Seattle from Nairobi, Kenya, three years ago. He is a stand-up comedian. And with the comedy clubs closed due to COVID-19, driving for Lyft is his best option. He’s also studying film production. He said the outpouring of support he’s got from the community has been encouraging.

He has not reported the incident to Issaquah police. He told KIRO 7 he is still deciding what to do next.

Kangogo said the passenger reached out to him through social media, but he was not ready to talk with the man at this point.

“I hope that he becomes a better man. We are all the same; we are all human beings. There’s no need to treat someone differently because of their color or how they speak,” said Kangogo. “We can do better. It’s sad we’re having this conversation in 2020.”

The man in the video reached out to KIRO 7 and gave this statement:

I humbly apologize for my behavior towards David K. the Lyft driver on Tuesday night. I should have never said the things I said nor acted like a complete idiot. He didn’t deserve that. Nobody does. I had too much to drink and lost control of my tongue and I said horrible things that I truly regret. Watching the video was hard for me, it was if I didn’t recognize the person. I let myself down, I let my friends and family down, I let my company down, I let our whole country down. I ask for forgiveness and mercy from literally everyone especially David the driver, the Lyft community, my family and friends and our community.