A heated discussion over Uber pricing between Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and one of his Uber drivers. Courtesy: Bloomburg
HE’S WORTH more than $8 billion, but Uber boss Travis Kalanick is not above arguing with a driver over the fare.
The ride-sharing giant’s chief executive and co-founder got into a shouting match with a driver who was angry over dropping prices and lower pay, a dash-cam video of the encounter shows.
Driver Fawzi Kamel and Mr Kalanick raged at each other in San Francisco, after Mr Kamel complained that his finances were suffering after the company kept changing its business model and charging less and less for rides.
“People are not trusting you anymore. … I lost $US97,000 because of you. I’m bankrupt because of you,” Mr Kamel — whose dashboard camera caught the encounter — told Mr Kalanick after he brought him to his destination on February 5.
“You keep changing every day. You keep changing every day.”
“Bulls—,” Mr Kalanick retorted.
When Mr Kamel tried to explain why lower fares have led to him making less money, Mr Kalanick reacted angrily, telling Mr Kamel that his problems were his own fault.
“You know what. Some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own s—,” Mr Kalanick fumed, before slamming the door. “They blame everything in their life on someone else. Good luck!”
The angry scene, first reported by Bloomberg, is the latest in a string of bad news that has come out of the company.
In January, disgusted customers started the #DeleteUber campaign after learning that the company kept sending cars to JFK Airport — where numerous refugees were being detained — while the taxi industry was boycotting.
And last week, the company hired former US Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct a review of sexual harassment claims at the ride-hailing service made by a former employee.
Before the argument started, Mr Kalanick was in the back seat with two women, telling them that he makes sure every year is a hard year.
“If it’s easy, I’m not pushing hard enough,” he told them.
The chief executive later apologised for the outburst, telling employees in a staff email on Tuesday evening:
“By now I’m sure you’ve seen the video where I treated an Uber driver disrespectfully. To say that I am ashamed is an extreme understatement. My job as your leader is to lead … and that starts with behaving in a way that makes us all proud. That is not what I did, and it cannot be explained away.
“It’s clear this video is a reflection of me — and the criticism we’ve received is a stark reminder that I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up. This is the first time I’ve been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it.
“I want to profoundly apologise to Fawzi, as well as the driver and rider community, and to the Uber team.”
A version of this story first appeared at the New York Post. It has been reproduced here with permission.