Lyft driver shoots carjackers in Philadelphia

It’s a 100% rideshare roundup this week with senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins. We’ll see what happens when two would-be carjackers cross a concealed carry driver. Let’s also take a look and see how Uber handled a passenger who was charged $600 when they were stuck in traffic for several hours. Sit tight for all this and more in this week’s roundup. 

Video shows police dog severely mauls Uber driver who missed car payments (The Guardian

Summary: Newly released video footage appears to show California police officers using a law enforcement dog to severely maul an Uber driver, who fell behind on payments for the car he rented to do his job.

San Ramon police stopped Ali Badr, a 42-year-old Egyptian immigrant, in December 2020 after a rental company reported his vehicle as stolen. In footage obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle, police in the Bay Area city can be seen releasing the dog on the unarmed and barefoot driver without warning within seconds of stopping him, even though Badr was not resisting.

The dog clamped down on Badr’s right arm for nearly a minute, mangling him so severely that he required multiple surgeries. In a lawsuit filed last month, Badr, who was never charged, said he was left with “severe physical and psychological injuries” and has not regained full use of his arm and hand since the incident.

“All of them are talking to me at one time,” Badr told the Chronicle. “They’re yelling at me, and all of them have guns out. I did what they say exactly.”

The case has cast a harsh light not only on the tactics of the police department but on the rental arrangements utilized by rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft….

My Take: Wow. I just can’t even comprehend what happened here. I understand the whole “stolen vehicle” aspect of it since there were late payments and such. But, should the car have been repossessed instead of cops called? I mean, I’ve been through a bankruptcy before and had to surrender my vehicle and waited until they took it. No cops came after me for the vehicle. It was repossessed in the middle of the night. No fuss.

And for the cops to send a dog after the man when he was complying with what they were saying? I just don’t get it. There’s no reason for that. No reason whatsoever.

As one commenter on Twitter stated, “Even if he had stolen it WTF?”

I think that is the perfect sentiment here. There’s no reason for this kind of force.

Uber lets you send anyone an email claiming to be from (Tech Radar)

Summary: A software bug means that pretty much anyone can currently send an email from the domain. No, Uber has not intentionally done so. It is, however, choosing to ignore the problem at the moment.

These are the conclusions of multiple security researchers, which blame an exposed endpoint on Uber’s servers allowing anyone to use SendGrid, an email marketing and customer communications platform, to send emails on behalf of the taxi ride giant.

The vulnerability is “an HTML injection in one of Uber’s email endpoints,” security researcher and bug bounty hunter, Seif Elsallamy, told BleepingComputer. These emails can pass both DKIM and DMARC security checks and land safely in people’s inboxes, the report adds….

My Take: That’s an issue. Just hope Uber takes care of it sooner rather than later.

Uber rider stuck on I-95 hit with $600 bill (WTOP)

Summary: Thousands of people had a terrible experience being trapped on icy roads on Interstate 95 in Virginia this week, but how many of them had insult added to injury?

Andrew Peters, from Richmond, Virginia, not only got stranded on the highway but was also hit with a massive Uber bill.

“I was coming in from San Francisco and didn’t really realize what was going on here,” Peters told WTOP, explaining that he hopped in an Uber bound for Richmond after landing at Dulles International Airport.

His Uber driver apparently did not realize the severity of the situation either, because the driver went on the highway and got stuck in the traffic disaster….

My Take: Yikes! I hate traffic and I hate snow. I would have been miserable in this situation (unless I had a good book to read). But also, as someone who has taken an Uber with just barely enough to cover it in my account, this would have been a nightmare for me if I were the passenger.

This is pretty much all anyone could talk about this week. It was posted numerous times on social media sites and all over the national news as well.

What the original news story doesn’t say is the passenger was a teenager who became emotionally overwhelmed being stuck in his Uber overnight in a gridlock. The driver even went above and beyond by speaking to her parents to assure them their daughter was being taken care of.

He even booked a hotel room for her so she could get some sleep once they got off the highway.

Uber reached out to the driver and reimbursed him for the hotel room he’d booked for the passenger. He was also offered a part-time job with Alto, a ride-sourcing service based out of Texas.

Learn more about Alto and how they are expanding.

At the end of it all, everything turned out fine. I like stories like this.

Lyft driver shoots two suspects attempting to carjack vehicle in Philadelphia, police say (Fox)

Summary: Two suspects in an armed carjacking are in the hospital after police say they attempted to take a vehicle from a Lyft who was armed with a gun he was licensed to carry on Monday afternoon in West Philadelphia. 

Officials said the shooting happened on the 4200 block of Parkside Avenue Monday, just before 2:45 in the afternoon.

A Lyft driver, with a passenger, was rear-ended twice, according to authorities. When the driver stopped and got out, two men got out of their vehicle with a gun and demanded the Lyft driver’s vehicle.

The driver then got his passenger out and one of the two suspects took control of the vehicle.

Investigators said the Lyft driver was licensed to carry a firearm and proceeded to fire his weapon at the suspect who took his car and the accomplice in the other vehicle. He hit both suspects, according to official accounts….

My Take: So, it’s great that both carjackers are under arrest. It’s also great that the Lyft driver was not injured during this incident.

I found a video report on this and the reporter actually says something along the lines of, “every Uber and Lyft driver should have a concealed carry weapon who doesn’t want to die on the job”. While that sounds great…it is against Lyft’s policy to carry firearms. Or weapons in general for that matter.

None of the articles I read or videos I watched conclusively said anything about Lyft’s reaction to this or any action Lyft was taking. The only thing I found was an article from a news source in Boston that said:

In a statement issued Tuesday night, Lyft said: “Safety is fundamental to Lyft, and the incident described is deeply troubling. We have been in touch with both the rider and driver to offer our support and have reached out to law enforcement to offer our assistance.”

I just hope the driver is not deactivated from the Lyft platform. He was defending himself and his passenger. He deserves to keep his job.

What do you think? Should the driver be praised or reprimanded for firing on his attackers? Do you think Lyft and Uber drivers should be allowed to carry weapons?

-Paula @ RSG