Shawn Lettman was having a normal night as a Lyft driver in New York City when Robert Ortiz stepped into the car with two of his associates.
When Ortiz requested certain music, Lettman declined, which left Ortiz absolutely furious.
In fact, he was so angry that he asked to leave the Lyft after getting a full refund. When Lettman did not provide a refund for the pick-up fee, Ortiz called the police and went on an extended rant against Lettman.
Fortunately, the entire incident was recorded.
Ortiz, who also claimed to be a Lyft driver as well as a worker at CityMD, told the 911 dispatcher:
"I feel racially profiled ... because I'm not black. I don't want to hang up with you for my safety."
The total cost of the ride was little over eight dollars. Robert Ortiz feared for his safety and decided to stay in… https://t.co/WMOjqjX81d— This QPOC Life Podcast (@This QPOC Life Podcast)1538839950.0
Throughout the entire ordeal, Ortiz and his associates seemed to be under the impression that they were the ones acting rationally:
"I'm gonna make sure while you're recording this that you never have a job as a Lyft driver ever again. I'm going to make sure that you never have a job as a f**king driver again. You piece of s**t."
@thisQPOClife He went on about his $8 like it $800,000.— Juan Molina (@Juan Molina)1539414077.0
Ortiz thought that he was the one being discriminated against:
"I'm not being racist, your gentleman is being racist. I came out of a gay club, and your driver is racist against gay people."
The rider then called Lyft and repeatedly threatened to sue them over his $8.01, saying:
"I'm telling you that I called the police to protect myself because I know my legal rights as an American citizen … an American citizen that voted for Trump."
Funny 🤔 I never knew Trump supported gay rights and showed love to the people of Puerto Rico... That one went tota… https://t.co/2USktcmoSt— Iesha D. 🤓 (@Iesha D. 🤓)1539232952.0
Bit by bit, over the course of Lettman's 15-minute video, Ortiz's true colors came out.
Facetiming with a friend to explain his whereabouts, Ortiz said:
"Tell me why I'm in a Lyft and the n***a fucking pulled over …We're waiting for the police because this f****t charged me. All that black lives matter is bulls**t … F**k black lives matter, every life matters."
The fact that Robert Ortiz felt so comfortable saying nigga, and then wanna say “that black lives matter thing is b… https://t.co/LxrnV8ifo4— antonia (@antonia)1539109344.0
Lettman's only words on camera were pretty straightforward:
"Could I say one thing? There's a sign right there that says you will be recorded."
#ShawnPepas you displayed unbelievable retraint. Im glad everyone is blowing up #RobertOrtiz phone number. #RobertOrtiz You ignorant FUCK.— RealNameLORD (@RealNameLORD)1538864802.0
@AFarray The driver's face.....I feel him.— Pragmatic Obots (@Pragmatic Obots)1539274302.0
Following the incident, Lyft suspended both Ortiz and Lettman's accounts.
After a quick review of the facts, however, Lettman's profile was re-instated...while Ortiz's was not.
Lyft issued a comment, saying:
"The behavior exhibited in the video is deeply concerning. Lyft is committed to maintaining an inclusive and welcoming community and discriminatory behavior is unacceptable. We have also reached out to Mr. Lettman to express our support."
Good news the Lyft driver #ShawnPepas was reinstated and #RobertOrtiz is unemployed for his racist filled rant. Hop… https://t.co/0Qd0zgJy69— Bawdy Broad (@Bawdy Broad)1538944022.0
On his GoFundMe, created while his Lyft account had been suspended to hold him over in the event that it was never brought back, Lettman wrote:
"I know America is better than this and despite the hate we have to deal with from a few, my heart tells me, the world is mostly good."
@CityMD on 86th Street in Manhattan! Please make sure you fire Robert Ortiz! His behavior is absolutely repulsive!… https://t.co/7mLZxS5pJ9— Andre Turnbull (@Andre Turnbull)1538787705.0
It also seems Ortiz has lost his job at CityMD.
The company wrote on Facebook:
"CityMD first became aware of this Incident when this video went viral last evening. The conduct in the video was wholly unrelated to CityMD operations and did not occur at a CityMD facility."
"We don't condone this kind of behavior in any way. CityMD exists to build healthier and kinder communities. This behavior does not represent the values of our team or the values we hold dear."
"This individual is no longer affiliated with CityMD."
It seems causing a massive scene and spouting racial slurs, all while believing you're the one being persecuted, isn't a good strategy for living a stable life.
Well done for keeping your cool, Shawn Lettman, and best of luck going forward!