Lyft driver pepper sprays partiers for refusing to leave his car

A Lyft driver's pepper spraying of a verbally abusive customer on Halloween has caused a lot of debate about ride-sharing services and personal protection in Denver, CO. On the night of October 31, a Lyft driver responded to a call for a ride around 11:30 pm. A woman attempted to get into the car with a beer can in her hand.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! No," the driver says in the video. "Everybody out. This ride can't happen." The woman says the can is empty, and offers to throw it away, but the driver still does not want to go forward with the ride. Lyft expressly forbids open containers of alcohol in driver's vehicles. A man dressed as Indiana Jones – for a Halloween party, we'd assume – slides in, even after the Lyft driver canceled the ride. The situation escalates quickly when the male passenger refuses to get out of the car. He threatens to punch the driver, which earns him a face full of mace.

The driver told ABC 7 that Lyft is structured in a way that naturally leads to animosity between drivers and passengers. The company took the driver off duty while they investigate. Lyft has a strict 'no weapons' policy, which includes pepper spray. The driver is claiming self-defense, but some other drivers told ABC that there were other ways to defuse the tense situation.

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