A gay Texas couple says their Uber driver abandoned them by the side of the road after he took issue with them kissing.
Randall Magill, 28, and Jose Chavez, 26, recently got engaged in the Dominican Republic, and were celebrating at a holiday party at a friend’s house last week when they decided to hail an Uber. The couple sat in two seats divided by an aisle in a minivan when they leaned across to kiss each other.
“I wasn’t doing anything that I wouldn’t have done in public,” Magill told NBC affiliate KPRC Houston, describing the kiss as a “peck on the lips.”
But the driver objected, telling them to stop kissing and that “I can’t take you no more.” He pulled off the freeway and let the couple out on a largely deserted road at around 4 a.m. The couple says he left them on the corner of 59th Street and New Castle Drive in Houston, next to the concrete sound barrier.
The couple then hailed another Uber driver, but had to walk under the interstate bridge and to the other side of the Southwest Freeway to reach their pickup spot. They later told KPRC that they believe they were targeted because they were gay, not because they were kissing.
Uber’s current nondiscrimination policy prohibits discrimination against riders or drivers on a variety of factors, including sexual orientation or gender identity. Such discrimination includes, but is not limited to, refusing to provide or accept services based on any of those protected characteristics. If any rider or drive is found to have violated this prohibition, they will lose access to the Uber platform.
The company also has a policy prohibiting physical contact with the driver and fellow riders. The company advises riders not to touch, flirt with, or have sex with others in their car.
But Magill and Chavez maintain they did nothing wrong, and that a small kiss on the lips doesn’t constitute gross or flagrant sexual behavior.
“I’ve never had a bad experience with Uber, this was probably, I’ll never use them again,” Magill said. “I was super disappointed. Everyone I have ever ridden with has been very nice, very respectful. Even the ones I could tell were not so comfortable with carrying us, they were very respectful.”
A spokeswoman for Uber said that both the driver and the rider reported the incident. She said the company will investigate the incident, and take appropriate action as needed.