LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Cell phone video captured a tense confrontation at Los Angeles International Airport after an Uber driver said a rider hurled racist insults at him.
“I hope this is not your f***ing example, ’cause the world doesn’t operate like this,” Stella Hwang can be heard yelling in the video.READ MORE: California Focusing On Urgent Projects As Wildfire Season Looms
She said she was outraged after the man in the video shouted racial slurs at a Filipino Uber driver at the LAX-it lot Tuesday evening while his children stood nearby.
“I was feeling so much anger and frustration,” Hwang said. “I just wanted to make sure that was OK, so my first initial action was to yell.”
Hwang said she was waiting for her own ride when she heard the commotion and had to speak up. According to Hwang and the driver, it started when the man got into the front passenger seat, which is not allowed under Uber’s COVID-19 safety protocol.
The video does not capture the racist tirade, but the driver, who did not want to be identified, said by phone that the rider started yelling after being told he could not sit up front.
“Saying, ‘You’re an Asian piece of s**t, you don’t even have papers to work here to be here,’ and ‘Just go back to your country,'” the driver said.
The driver told CBS Los Angeles that he offered to cancel the passenger’s trip so he would not be charged and even helped the man unload his luggage in an attempt to deescalate the situation but said things only got worse.READ MORE: Future Of Hollywood's Cinerama Dome Still In Question
Video of the confrontation went viral, even making headlines in Korea where Hwang has family ties.
The rideshare company said it banned the driver and released a statement that said, in part:
“Uber does not tolerate racism or hate in any form, against any community. When one community is being attacked, we are all being attacked. We are shocked and saddened by the recent increase in anti-Asian hate, particularly when it affects a driver or rider.”
LAX police said they responded to the incident, but neither party wanted to initiate a private person’s arrest.
Hwang said she was saddened by recent incidents of hate toward Asian Americans and had to take a stand.
“Everybody has a voice, and everybody knows right from wrong,” she said.MORE NEWS: Paul Flores, Father Arrested In 1996 Disappearance Of Kristin Smart
Attempts to contact the passenger were not immediately successful.