Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty has issued a statement regarding the controversial Lyft ride she took on November 1. After ordering a pickup at Washington’s ilani Casino Resort, Hardesty became upset over confusion about where she was waiting for the car. She also didn’t want the windows open for ventilation because she was cold.
When the Lyft driver, Richmond Frost, cut the trip short and attempted to drop Hardesty off at a gas station, she called 911 and requested a law enforcement response. The dispatcher told her no crime had been committed. Frost also placed a 911 call when Hardesty refused to get out of his vehicle.
According to Frost, the windows were cracked in his vehicle as a mitigation effort amid the COVID-19 pandemic. When Frost canceled the ride, he took the next exit off Interstate 5 south and drove to a Chevron gas station, where he asked Hardesty to get out of his vehicle and call for another ride.
Ultimately, two Ridgefield police officers responded to her call at the same time another Lyft driver pulled up. The matter was resolved when Hardesty exited the first rideshare vehicle and entered the second one she had ordered.
Frost, Hardesty, and Lyft have responded to this incident. According to Frost, “She was not a pleasant person. This has nothing to do with her political position as a Portland council person. I’m out here doing my job. She was very disrespectful to me, made me uncomfortable. I don’t feel like I have to sit in a car for anyone to have to argue unrelentingly and be rude and abusive, telling me what I have to do in my own vehicle.”
Hardesty claims her response to the incident resulted from recent death threats to her home and office. The death threats come after several days of clashes during the summer and fall between far-right demonstrators and far-left counter-protesters, as well as months of social justice and anti-police brutality demonstrations.
When Hardesty submitted a complaint to Lyft, a member of the Lyft Safety team responded with the following statement: “As a reminder, drivers are free to end a ride for any reason as long as the drop off is in a safe location. Safety is our top priority. We take these matters very seriously. We encourage everyone using Lyft to be respectful of others. This helps maintain a safe and inclusive community.”