NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — What was supposed to be an average ride home from The Nashville International Airport has now become a viral video.
Aaron Swetland said despite oddities like incense burning in his Lyft driver's car, the ride started off normal. But trouble began when he wanted to close his rear window because of the pressure on his ears.
"So I attempt to raise the window on the door and she has it locked out," said Swetland, who was once a ride-share driver himself. "First tip that something is kind of whack for me was like 'wait, you've taken control away from me to be able to do that?' That seemed kind of odd."
Swetland said his Lyft driver informed him it was a COVID rule to keep the windows open. Lyft's website recommends drivers and passengers "keep windows down when possible".
"So then I ask her if she doesn't mind to just reduce her speed- maybe that would be more pleasant for me if we're going to have to keep the windows down."
Instead, things escalated. Swetland said, "at that point that's when I turned on my camera."
He recorded as the driver began raising her voice at him. In the video, it appears the driver tries to knock his camera out of his hand as she pulls off the highway. "When she tried to grab for my phone and throw it out of the vehicle that was a scary moment because I'm like - had she succeeded, I lost my only way to communicate," said Swetland.
The video shows the driver then throwing Swetland's suitcase on the side of the highway. "When she yanked my bag out of the vehicle and then returned to the trunk I had a brief moment of 'well does she have a weapon?'"
He hopes others learn from his experience and never have to endure a ride like his.
"This really can happen to anybody and you really kind of have to be cautious of your surroundings and just be aware. In this particular instance, for me, it was a change in tone, in attitude. She was very aggressive for no reason at all," said Swetland. "Just be safe and watch out for yourself- nobody else is doing it so you gotta do it for yourself."
In statement, Lyft said: "Safety is fundamental to Lyft, and the incident shown in the video is concerning. We have reached out to the rider to offer our support and have suspended the driver's account pending a complete investigation."