A gay New Yorker is going viral for all the wrong reasons.
A YouTube video and GoFundMe campaign have popped up in support of the driver that this gay man says was threatening him.
Before we show you the video, we’ll fill you in on what happened before the video (from what we can gather).
Apparently, this gay man, named Robert Ortiz, got into Lyft with two friends after leaving a gay club. At some point during the drive, the three men asked the driver, named Shan Pepas Lettman, to play music. Lettman declined and an argument followed, which resulted in Lettman stopping the car. At this point, Ortiz picked up his own phone to call the police and Lettman started recording the men as they became more belligerent.
If the video below is too long for you or in case you miss some things, here are a few important lines from Ortiz in the recording.
“I came out of a gay club and your driver is racist against gay people.”
“I called the police to protect myself because I know my legal rights as an American citizen that voted for Trump.
"[Talking to a Lyft representative] I’m not gonna stop talking you piece of sh*t. You're gonna tell me to stop talking? F*** you. I'm gonna wait for the police. [hangs up]"
“I’m gonna make his night a living hell.”
“[After video calling a friend] Yo, Boo, tell me why I’m in a Lyft and the n***a f**king pulled over…The n***a’s recording me without my consent, because I asked for music…"
While posting the video, Pepas simultaneously created a GoFundMe to see if anyone would help his financial troubles.
As Pepas said on the page:
“The video pretty much speaks for itself [as to what happened] but what the video doesn’t show is what happened next. After the end of the video, i had to also call the police for myself expressing my concerns and fear of what will happen if i was not assisted. Luckily there was no physical confrontation but the company i drive with felt it necessary to cancel my account pending investigation. Unfortunately expenses weren’t suspended and I am left to dig myself out of an awfully stressful predicament. I didn’t ask for this nor did i want this. I know America is better than this and despite the hate we have to deal with from a few, my heart tells me, the world is mostly good. I ask for help, So i can get myself off the ground and back to providing for my family again. Any and every help offered will be greatly appreciated even the prayers for my family and myself.”
He then later added:
“My name is Shawn Pepas Lettman, I reside in Brooklyn and happy to say still a Lyft driver. I just wanted everyone to know that I really appreciate all your kind words and I really thank each and everyone for their donations. All donations received will assist me in catching up on expenses such as rent and car payments. Also I have heard some rumors about a lawsuit coming my way from the use of the video captured on my phone and I want to be fully prepared if that does happens.”
After the video went viral on YouTube and Reddit, both Lettman and Ortiz were affected by the footage.
Ortiz was reportedly fired from his job at City MD. In addition, he recited his phone number while on camera, a mistake he’d later regret. Apparently, many people who saw the video then called Ortiz and left messages on his voicemail. This got so bad that he later changed his number.
As for Lettman, he received kind words, praise, and donations from the people of the internet. His GoFundMe page has been nearly funded and Lettman left the following update message.
“I really appreciate the out pour of love and support i sincerely appreciate it. My account has been reinstated and i am able to work again. I just wanted to share that bit with everyone.. Thank you!”