Lyft trains drivers to give fist-bumps to passengers after they enter a vehicle as a way to break the ice.
But what happened inside a Lyft car in Seattle on Monday was a fist-bump that did not break ice, but rather a nose.
Forbes reported today on a disturbing story that highlights the risks of the ever-popular sharing economy. Two days ago, a Lyft driver in Seattle asked a passenger to stop smoking in his car. This apparently angered the rider, who then punched the driver in the nose.
The Lyft driver then posted a photo of his bloody and broken nose onto a driver-only Facebook community page.
“Just got punched in my face by this guy for asking him to stop smoking in my car,” he wrote. “Broke my nose.”
It’s unclear how exactly the altercation went down, but at least one person was left injured. Lyft has deactivated the passenger from its system and sent this statement to us:
We were informed that a Lyft driver was injured by a passenger in Seattle on Monday morning. We’ve been in close contact with the driver, who has let us know that he is safe and doing well. The passenger was immediately deactivated from using Lyft and has been blocked from creating future accounts on the platform. The safety of our community members is always our top priority, and we will continue to stay in close touch with this driver.
Problems like this are bound to arise for Lyft, or any “sharing economy” company that brings strangers together for an exchange of services. There have been several similar instances — for example, an Uber passenger sued the company in March after an alleged sexual assault, while a San Francisco resident had her Airbnb rental home burglarized in 2011.
How Lyft handles situations like Monday’s, past just deactivating people from their system, will be interesting to watch — particularly because of how Lyft has branded its “Your Friend with a Car,” mantra for its service more so than other competitors. Like Uber and Sidecar, Lyft has a implemented a rating system designed to maintain high quality and keep the bad drivers and passengers out.
Do these types of stories make you feel less inclined to use platforms like Lyft or Airbnb?