YORKVILLE, New York — Lyft driver Shawn Lettman had just picked up his next ride: three men coming from a club in Yorkville around 1 a.m., roughly two weeks ago.
Lettman said he was playing jazz music, when he says one of the passengers rudely asked him twice to change it.
Lettman said he offered to let the men take another Lyft, pulled over when they became irate and began recording the exchange.
A 16-minute video posted to Facebook captures the passengers throwing racial slurs, accusing the driver of treating them differently because of their race, and threatening to have the driver fired.
The passenger also calls Lyft once and the police twice.
Lettman remained silent for the entire video, only stopping once to ask if he can point out that has a notice posted on his door that he may be recording the ride.
His patience is being applauded on social media. He said his mother was a peacemaker who led by example and taught him to live a life of non-violence.
“It’s either, I’m going to endure 16-minutes plus of this assault and I can suck it up and go home, or I can respond the way he wanted me to and I’ll probably be in jail for two to three years for assault.”
Lettman eventually ended the video and called police, who came and sent the passengers on their way.
After posting the video online to spread a message about non-violence, the passenger lost his job with CityMD.
“Even though I should be the victim in this situation, I didn’t find it very amusing that he lost his job,” said Lettman.
The passenger has been banned for life from Lyft, which also reached out to Lettman to apologize.
Lettman said if he were to encounter the passenger now, he would help him search for a new job. He said he will continue to be a peacemaker in his Brooklyn community.