An Uber driver in North Carolina kicked a group of young Republican volunteers out of his vehicle at a gas station off of the interstate over the weekend, in an apparent show of “resistance” to their conservative political beliefs. And Uber apparently has no intention of terminating the driver.
Mary-Elizabeth Russell, a campaign volunteer, and Chris Godbey, the executive director of the Young Republicans National Federation, shared their unpleasant experience with the Daily Caller’s Stephanie Hamill.
About 40 Young Republicans were on a campaign trip to Raleigh to campaign for North Carolina Republican Reps. Mark Meadows, George Holding and Mark Walker, as well as North Carolina Lt. Governor Dan Forest, North Carolina state Republican Rep. Chris Malone, and Mark Harris, a candidate for the House of Representatives, according to the DCNF.
The NC YR's were happy to help @chrismalone3 together with the @DCYRs who came out in full force! We had a lot of fun with them this weekend door knocking and hope to see them again in the fall! #TeamMalone #DCYR #NCFYR pic.twitter.com/5TwUs6zz5m
— NC Young Republicans (@NCYoungGOP) July 15, 2018
Russell said that after a day of campaigning in Wake Forest, NC, Saturday night, she called an Uber driver to bring a group of six campaigners back to Raleigh, about 20 miles away.
Once in the vehicle, Russell said, members of the group were “just having polite conversations about our backgrounds, and our experience on the campaign trail and also our future political aspirations — nothing too controversial.” She added that they didn’t bash anybody and are “always open to opposing views.” But the Uber driver clearly wasn’t. He told them he needed to stop and get gas and then unceremoniously kicked them out of his car.
“He quickly turned off, stopped the car and said, ‘your ride has been terminated. You’ve reached your destination and I have the right to deny you service,'” Russell said. “We were all shocked and we politely got out of the vehicle and just said, ‘bye, have a good night.’ And then he drove off and said,’welcome to the resistance.'”
Godbey, the only male in the group, said that they were able to get another vehicle to pick them up, and when they got to their destination, he fired off a tweet to Uber, asking them if that’s the way they treat their customers.
In a world where we're supposed to embrace the free exchange of ideas, I was ordered out of my @uber for discussing my background. Was told "welcome to the resistance" and abandoned. @Uber_Support @dkhos is this listening to your customers?
— Chris Godbey (@Godbey) July 15, 2018
Uber responded by requesting more information:
Happy to further assist you. Can you please direct message us your email address with more details regarding your concern? We'll be happy to take it from there.
— Uber Support (@Uber_Support) July 15, 2018
An Uber spokesperson told the Daily Caller that they were looking into the situation.
Russell said that she received an email on Sunday stating that ride was terminated because they made the driver “feel uncomfortable.” But after looking over Uber’s policies, she insisted that there was nothing said in their conversation that would warrant a termination. They weren’t even wearing MAGA hats.
“We could have been stuck at that random gas station for up to 20 – 30 minutes,” she added. “I just wouldn’t expect that kind of discrimination or treatment from Uber.”
North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows heard about the incident and offered a $100 Lyft gift card for to the Republicans who were kicked out out of the Uber vehicle.
If anyone can get ahold of the contact information for these volunteers, please let me know and I will be glad to personally send each of them a $100 credit for Lyft. They're doing incredible work!https://t.co/l3RGkPPKOb
— Mark Meadows (@MarkMeadows) July 16, 2018
Godbey posited that the Uber driver’s decision to dump them at the gas station “was prefaced by the current situation that’s going on throughout the country, where we have leaders of ‘the Resistance’ so-called to go out and get in the face of anyone who’s involved with the Trump administration.”
He and Russell made clear that they weren’t working for the Trump administration and that they did not give the Uber driver any reason to believe they were. Not that it matters. The lack of tolerance, civility and basic decency on display by the Uber driver was inexcusable no matter whom they worked for.
Russell said that while Uber got back to her and said the behavior of their driver was “unacceptable,” she didn’t get the impression that he would be terminated. “They did tell me that I’m not going to be paired with him again,” she noted. “I’m grateful for that.”
The incident is just the latest in a string of harassment and denials of service to Republicans, including Trump officials. According to the Caller, a congressional intern was also denied service in an Uber on Tuesday because he was wearing a “Make America Great Again Hat.”