Lehigh Valley

‘You Speak English': Lyft Driver Kicks Rider Out Over Racist Comment

A Lyft driver in the Lehigh Valley is getting worldwide praise after video posted online shows him kicking a couple out of his car Friday night. The driver said the riders were making racist comments and now the internet is reacting - from blocked pages to donations

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A Lyft driver's video of two Lehigh Valley passengers making racist comments, and of one of them getting kicked out of the car, is going viral.

James Bode, the Lyft driver, posted the video from inside his car onto his Facebook page late Friday night. Since then, the video has had millions of views across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit and beyond.

The incident happened Friday night outside of Catasauqua bar Fossil’s Last Stand in Lehigh County.

The borough's police department confirmed they are investigating the incident. Police say the woman in the video is Jackie Harford, who owns Fossil’s.

The video, just over a minute long, starts when Harford gets into Bode's car. He asks if the ride is for "Jackie" and she confirms it is.

“You’re like a white guy," Harford says as she gets into the car on the rear passenger side. Bode asks, "What’s that?"

"Are you, like, a white guy?" asks Harford, who is then making her way to the center of the car. "You’re like, a normal guy?" Harford says. "You speak English?"

There's a quick pause before Harford laughs, pats Bode's shoulder and apologizes. Bode then tells her to get out of the car, saying what Harford said was inappropriate.

"If somebody was not white, sitting in this seat, what would be the difference?" Bode asked.

The car’s rear passenger door is still open, and Bode repeats to a man, unidentified at this time, standing outside the car that he won't be taking the ride.

"Really?" the man says, "You’re a f-----g a--hole."

Bode points toward the camera inside the car and tells the man it's all on video.

“I’m gonna punch you in the f-----g face,” the man says back to Bode.

Bode calls the couple “racist f---s,” as Harford gets out of the car.

That's when the man calls him an "[n-word] lover."

Bode rolls down the window and tells the couple he's calling the police.

Catasauqua Police Chief Douglas Tish confirmed Bode made a police report at 10:27 p.m. Friday night. He said the incident remains under investigation.

Lyft responded to a version of Bode's video has more than 3.3 million views on Twitter.

"We are incredibly grateful to Lyft driver @Jameswb333 for instantly shutting down this hate & upholding our no tolerance anti-discrimination policies," Lyft said. "We're looking into these riders & are in touch with James to show our thanks."

Calls made to Fossil's Last Stand's early Monday afternoon would not go through. Their website and Facebook pages had been deactivated.

Yelp and TripAdvisor shut down the comments for both of the bar's pages after they were flooded with negative reviews and one-star ratings.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Bode's initial Facebook post with the video received nearly 4,000 comments.

Efforts to reach him were unsuccessful. However, in a post early Monday morning, Bode expressed gratitude for the support he's seen.

“But this is the way it should be everywhere, every time," Bode wrote. "I shouldn’t be ‘the guy’ who did it or said it…we should all be that person. Speak up if you’re uncomfortable with it because it makes them uncomfortable, as they should be. F**k racism,” Bode wrote.

NBC10's Deanna Durante said the Lyft driver's father passed away last year and folks who saw the viral video are donating to cover his funeral expenses. Others are sharing his Lyft handle encouraging tips.

Fossil's Last Stand was closed through the weekend and on Monday.

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