A video of someone blatantly stealing goes viral, and yet that person gets off scot-free—a testament to the strange (and connected) times we live in.
In a recently released video, a New York Uber driver’s dashboard camera caught a passenger stealing from his open tip jar. The video, filmed in August, began circulating last week alongside a Daily Mail report on the incident. In it, two women and one man enter the back seat of an Uber; as one woman slides into the middle seat, she eyes the tip jar.
No suspicious movements are made at first, but the woman shows obvious interest in the bill-filled box in front of her. It is not until the final moments of the ride that she stealthily snatches all of the money from tip jar—while staring straight into the camera.
The driver does not notice his empty container until the passengers exit the vehicle and shut the doors. He honks once in an attempt to get their attention, but to no avail.
Despite Uber’s size and capabilities, the company could only bring the thieving woman to justice at the app level. “What’s been shown has no place on our app and the rider’s access to the app has been removed,” said an Uber spokesman in response to the viral video.
The Uber driver, still without compensation for the lost tips, sought additional help from his employer. The ride-hailing service responded without a concrete solution.
“We understand your frustration with this experience,” an Uber official said in an e-mail. “The rider responded to us and advised us that she didn’t steal your cash from the tip jar. If you believe the rider has your cash as captured from your dash cam and is refusing to return it, you may want to initiate a formal investigation via the police.” The driver said he hasn’t had the chance to file a police report because he’s too busy with work.
Along with many businesses in the service industry, Uber faces the “customer is always right” dilemma. However, the multibillion-dollar company seemingly did not even make an effort to compensate their employee for the lost funds, despite clear evidence of the theft. This incident marks yet another unfortunate event involving Uber, as the company has faced negative press for the last few months.
It’s important to note that back in June, Uber upgraded their app to allow users to tip a driver directly from their phone, maintaining a completely cashless transaction. Perhaps this driver’s ordeal will serve as a warning to others who choose to skirt the company’s business model.