I wish I had the chutzpah of the California Uber passenger who beat up his driver in October, then sued him after the driver’s video of the incident went viral. Not to say I’d ever do something like that, but I wish I had the glands. You just don’t find that kind of nerve in people very often, and that’s probably a good thing.
Benjamin Golden, a Taco Bell executive at the time, caught a ride from Uber driver Edward Caban in Costa Mesa the day before Halloween last year. Golden was drunk, too drunk to provide an address or give proper directions. And so Caban pulled over and put him out.
That’s when Golden lost it (<–Warning: violence, profanity), brutally slapping, punching and pulling Caban’s hair. Caban pepper-sprayed Golden to force him out of the car, then called the cops, and Golden was arrested.
We hear a lot about Uber drivers around the world assaulting their passengers, but Uber passengers assault their drivers at about the same rate as regular taxi cab passengers. So this is rare, especially given that it was caught on tape. Unfortunately it’s not unique.
And according to Forbes, independent contractors like Caban don’t get worker’s compensation or other benefits like regular employees who get hurt on the job.
It’s tough work, made only tougher by people like Benjamin Golden. Caban has since quit the job — he says he was traumatized and can’t risk another beatdown — and filed suit against Golden for the assault. With video in hand, you know he’s got all kinds of claims, from medical bills to lost income.
Golden is going to pay big time. He’ll have to locate some new funds though, because Taco Bell fired him about the time the video started trending on Youtube.
So Golden has now filed a counterclaim against Caban for videotaping the beating. He says he doesn’t remember what happened, being drunk and all, but still… there is a video. His claim of somehow being violated is kind of bold. He says the video was made and distributed without his permission, and that as a result, he’s suffered emotional distress, public embarrassment and lost wages. I can’t wait to hear what a judge has to say about those claims.
Here’s Golden’s crocodile-tearful attempt at an apology:
I hope he gets some help, not only for his drinking problem and his anger, but for the total lack of empathy he holds for people he’s harmed. And I hope he’s ordered to pay Caban’s attorney fees for that ridiculous counterclaim.
Have you had a bad experience with Uber, or its competitor Lyft? Did you sue, or get sued? Share in the comments below.