An Uber driver has made a heart-warming gesture after an Australian couple fell victim to abuse by another of the company's drivers over the weekend.
Lucy Thomas and her girlfriend Chelsea Lang experienced homophobic abuse during their Uber ride home after an evening out in Melbourne on Saturday (June 4), with the driver, named only as John, threatening them and calling the "faggots" after it became clear the pair were in a relationship.
The pair were making small talk with the driver and discussing an upcoming football match when the Uber driver revealed “he hated football because it was a bunch of faggots jumping around and touching each other,” Thomas told the Star Observer
She explained: “I told him that I understood the spirit of what he was saying but that the word was deeply offensive to me and a lot of other people.
“He then asked us – why are you worried, are you gay?”
Refusing to hide their their sexuality, the Lucy and Chelsea revealed that they were a couple, after which the driver's attitude completely changed and he began abusing the two women personally.
The pair were still receiving homophobic abuse as they arrived home and, worried she would have no evidence, Lucy recorded the last few seconds of the conversation.
The driver can be heard saying: “What are you going to do, give me a low rating and make a complaint…When I write my report about two faggots who don’t like being called faggots, what’re they going to say?"
He continues: “Get out of the car… if you don’t I’ll get out and drag you out.”
The verbal attack left Lucy and Chelsea shocked and upset, and the pair shared their experience online, where they were quickly swamped with messages of condolence and support.
One such message was particularly touching, however. Shocked by the driver's treatment of the couple, a fellow Uber driver messaged Lucy offering his own services, saying he would be "honoured" to give them at ride.
"Lucy, I am so shocked to hear what you and your girlfriend went through with your Uber driver," the message reads. "Please know that not all Uber drivers are like this I can assure you.
"It's so sad in this day and age people can be so narrow minded. As an Uber driver myself, I would be honoured one day to take you and your girlfriend as passengers."
As well as thanking the supportive driver for his "kind words", Lucy reported the incident to both Uber and the police, and later confirmed that the homophobic driver had been sacked.
As the CEO of Project ROCKIT, a nationwide youth project working to tackle bullying, Lucy warned of the dangers cases like this can have.
“If it had been a couple of gay men it potentially been a lot different, the driver didn’t see us as a threat until he realised we weren’t straight,” she said.
“The only reason we decided to share this is because we want the community to know these issues are still a problem… given the current climate in Australia, it’s now more important than ever that LGBTI people are visible along with the discrimination they face.”
Words: James Jefferson
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