The Slatest

Lyft Driver in Indianapolis Kicks Gay Couple Out of Car After They Kiss

An illuminated sign appears in a Lyft ride-hailing car in Los Angeles, California on September 21, 2017.
An illuminated sign appears in a Lyft ride-hailing car in Los Angeles, California on September 21, 2017.
REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Ben Martella and Alec Jansen had no reason to believe their ride from Butler University in Indianapolis was going to be anything out of the ordinary earlier this month. But about a mile into the ride, the Lyft driver ordered the pair to get out of the car at a red light. Why? They had dared to share a brief kiss in the back seat of the car, the couple told the Indianapolis Star.

“We basically pecked, nothing out of the ordinary,” Martella, who is a student at Butler, told the paper. “He looked in his rear view mirror. He was yelling. We were stunned. We didn’t know the reason for it. He said, ‘I’m going to end your ride. I can’t have that in my car. I don’t have that here.’ … I was really upset. It was a big reaction for such a small display of affection between two guys.” Jensen agreed on the entire surreal nature of the sequence of events: “We gave each other a short kiss on the lips. … I was just surprised the whole thing happened. It just didn’t seem like it was real.”

Martella tweeted about the incident, saying he felt “unfairly judged by this service.”

Lyft refunded their money and said it took “the appropriate and necessary actions.” It was only after the paper contacted the company that it confirmed the driver had been “deactivated.” Considering the discrimination they suffered while using the company’s service though, the couple seems a bit dissatisfied with the company’s response. Martella said that his communication with the company was all “very impersonal. It’s all been half-way responses to the answer I was looking for.” Now he says he’s considering taking legal action.