An Uber driver is accused of refusing to drive a group of congressional interns in Washington carrying “Make America Great Again” hats.
Matthew Handy, an intern for Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.), said that he and three other interns hailed an Uber car near George Washington University. He said he was holding “my faithful red MAGA hat in my hand” as he was going to a monthly meeting.
The Uber driver, identified only as Mr. Sadou, then told him, “I cannot take this ride,” Handy said. The driver, he said, “had no right to refuse service, especially after the payment was accepted.”
Uber, in a tweet back to Handy, said the firm is taking it “very seriously,” adding that he should contact the firm to correct the matter.
In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Handy was about to close the car door when the driver allegedly asked him if he and another intern for Bost had the red “Make America Great Again” hats. “He then said ‘I can’t do the ride,'” Handy said the driver told him. “We asked whether he was being serious right now and he said ‘Please get out of my car,'” Handy added.
I requested an @Uber to go to a monthly DC MAGA meet-up at Trump Hotel; held my faithful red MAGA hat in my hand. Mr. Sadou looked at me and rudely said; “I cannot take this ride.” He had no right to refuse service, especially after the payment was accepted. @Uber, unacceptable!
— Matthew Handy (@Matthew_Handy) July 11, 2018
“I am more disappointed that I can’t hold my political beliefs without being scrutinized, being singled out, and being downright disrespected,” he said.
Rep. Bost spoke out on the matter, saying Handy is “an incredibly respectful & polite young man who I am grateful to have as an intern in my office this summer.”
“It’s an absolute shame that the political climate has become so toxic and that incidents like this are becoming all too common,” Bost said, calling for a National Day of Civility.
.@Matthew_Handy is an incredibly respectful & polite young man who I am grateful to have as an intern in my office this summer. It's an absolute shame that the political climate has become so toxic and that incidents like this are becoming all too common. #NationalDayofCivility https://t.co/foLQRhMRp4
— Rep. Mike Bost (@RepBost) July 12, 2018
Users on Twitter then called for Uber to fire the driver, whose full name has yet to be released, or called for a boycott of the company.
Uber said it is investigating the matter.
“We aim to provide a reliable service to everyone who uses Uber. We have reached out to both the rider and the driver, and continue to look into this,” a spokeswoman for Uber said.