He wanted to get his cab fare from his passenger after sending her home from the Central Business District area. But when she couldn’t pay up, the driver resorted to filming her, and threatening to “make her famous”.
In the end, he lost his rice bowl after transport operator ComfortDelGro terminated his services.
It was a lesson, and a costly one at that, for the unnamed taxi driver who took to social media to shame his passenger for not being able to pay up.
The video was uploaded onto Facebook on Monday (Jul 15). Filmed, presumably, by the cab driver with his phone, he could be heard asking his passenger repeatedly if she wanted to pay the cab fare.
The lady, who appeared inebriated, replied a few times that she wanted to. But the cabby cut her off each time before she could complete her sentence. She eventually said that she wanted to “reach into her bag”, but was unable to find it in the white Mercedes cab. From the video, it looked as if she did not have her belongings with her.
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At this point, the cabby became increasingly frustrated, and you could tell this from his tone. Still, his act of filming-and-shaming was uncalled for, and this is something many netizens agree on.
Comments on Facebook suggested that in her drunken state, she might have dropped her bag without realising it before she got into the cab – and, therefore, had no means of paying the fare.
If the cabby really wanted to get his hard-earned money, he could have accompanied the woman back to her place, and collected it from a family member. Or, he could have offered her his phone so she could call a family member to bring the cash down.
Had the woman refused to do so for fear of her safety, or was unable to remember anyone’s phone number in her intoxicated state, he could have simply called the police and waited for them to show up. In fact, he could be heard in the video saying that the police were on the way.
So, clearly, the cabby knew that there were other reasonable, even kinder, ways to resolve the matter, instead of publicly shaming his passenger.
In the end, it was his own video that was his undoing. After it went viral, ComfortDelGro said that his actions were unacceptable and terminated his contract.
Under the updated Protection from Harassment Act, the cabby should count himself lucky that the only repercussion he faced was losing his job, when he could have been culpable for doxxing just for uploading the video.
Because while he did not divulge any of her personal details himself, he did leave her vulnerable – someone could have recognised her and revealed details of her identity online. And that could have caused her unwanted and unwarranted attention.
You’d think that the cabby would have learnt from the incident between a GoJek driver and his passenger that went viral at the start of the year.
The driver had similarly filmed his passenger, but did so only to protect himself from any false accusation she might make against him. Even so, the driver still received a warning for uploading his video on social media.
So, the next time you feel the need to film and shame someone, think twice (or thrice) before pressing the upload button. Because even if the other party is clearly at fault, it still isn’t kind to shame someone online, or worse, destroy that person’s reputation.
It also takes you dangerously close to doxxing territory, which can get you into trouble with the law, and your employer.
Better yet, don’t make it your first instinct to whip out your mobile phone and film someone you think deserves it.
After all, there are always other more effective – not to mention, gracious – solutions we can use to resolve the issue at hand.