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Valley Lyft driver berated with racist, homophobic slurs after ending ride

Valley Lyft driver berated with racist, homophobic slurs after ending ride
Posted at 6:15 PM, Jan 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-19 20:25:54-05

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — A racist, homophobic attack was caught on camera during a Valley Lyft ride.

The incident happened early Saturday morning in north Scottsdale. Two young men got in the car of Sammer Tomar, an immigrant from Jordan who has been a full-time rideshare driver for five years.

One of the passengers quickly opened a beer in the backseat.

Tomar says that violated the rules, so he canceled the trip and asked the men to hop out.

They tried to apologize and offered to throw out the alcohol, but Tomar told them it was too late.

"I just want to cancel the ride man, because I’m dealing with people who have no respect," said Tomar, captured on his dashcam.

"I want to respect you totally," replied one passenger.

"If you want to respect me you wouldn’t have opened the bottle in my car. I canceled the ride man."

"Dude... We’re just trying to get home, bro," added the other backseat rider.

Things quickly escalated when Tomar asked them to step out of his vehicle.

One passenger slapped the hat off his head, cussed him out, used a homophobic slur, and made multiple racist comments.

"Go back to your (expletive) dumb country," said the man. "Where did you get this (expletive) car? Did you steal it?"

"We’ll see you on YouTube. Trust me," replied Tomar.

"We will see your relatives getting waterboarded by our government," the passenger responds from outside the car.

Tomar told ABC15 he was so flustered he was shaking. He went straight home and took the next day off work as well.

"I’ve been in this country 20 years. I love this country. I’m lucky to be here," said Tomar. "We’re treated like second-class workers. We don’t get the respect."

He later reported the incident to both Lyft and Scottsdale police.

Lyft sent ABC15 the following statement:

"Safety is fundamental to Lyft, and the behavior shown is unacceptable. We have permanently removed the rider from the Lyft community, reached out to the driver to offer support and stand ready to assist law enforcement with any investigation."

Scottsdale police replied:

"This is an ongoing investigation and no arrests have been made thus far and we will reserve comment as to whether or not a criminal violation occurred until the investigation is complete. We do categorize certain incidents as hate crimes based upon specific criteria."

It is not the first time a rideshare driver has been the victim of racism.

In February an African American ASU student was called the n-word by a Valley CEO.

"I can’t believe this happened to me. I see these videos all the time online," said Tomar.

Tomar tells ABC15 he does not want the passenger to lose his job, but he would like an apology and hope the man learns.

"He should pay a price for it. I’m not talking price in terms of money. I’m talking about realizing what he did is wrong and to start respecting immigrants," said Tomar.