An Israeli diplomat says an Uber driver in Chicago yelled and threw him out of the car when he answered a phone call in Hebrew.
Itay Milner says it was one of the worst experiences of his life.
It started Thursday night when he was the leaving consulate general’s office at the end of the work day and got into an Uber.
The Uber wound its way through The Loop and onto Lower Wacker Drive. A few minutes went by in silence. Milner says he was checking his e-mail on his smart phone, when he got a call from the office.
“It was a colleague of mine, so I answered it in Hebrew,” he said. “But once I said a few words in Hebrew, the driver just stopped the car in the middle of Lower Wacker.”
Milner says the enraged driver stopped the car and started yelling, “’Get out of my car!’ … He was using the F-word, so I didn’t really understand what was going on. I asked him, ‘Are you sure? We’re in the middle of the road?’ I thought something was wrong with the car. But he looked back at me with such anger and rage in his eyes and repeated again and again this curse.”
Milner says it became clear to him that he was a victim of anti-Semitism.
“Being trapped in a car with someone that acted very violently … that is dangerous, that is unacceptable.”
As the Uber pulled away, Milner took a photo. He posted pictures of the vehicle and the driver on social media.
In response, Uber says the driver has been suspended, while it investigates.
The company has also offered to reimburse Milner and emphasized it doesn’t tolerate discrimination.
Milner says one positive that came from this ugly incident, as soon as he posted about it on social media, he received a number of messages from people offering support – and even offering to give him a ride.