I left my phone in a Lyft in Atlanta
Late Saturday night, early Sunday morning, I left my phone in a Lyft. I was visiting home from a far away place, and had been at my friend’s birthday party.
The party was wonderful. I saw old friends, I drank cheap beer from a keg, and met interesting people I didn’t know existed before. At the end of it all, I was a little drunk and a lot happy that I’d had a chance to visit home.
I called a Lyft to take me to the place I was staying. I hopped in the car, looked through my text messages on my phone to find the place of where I was staying, but couldn’t find it because the message was too old. I asked the driver, James, to put in the address of a location near by, one that I could navigate from, and we were off!
I don’t recall us having a bad time. I must confess, I had been drinking, so my recollection of our conversations are unclear. With that being said, he seemed to be a lovely human and I was quite appreciative of the ride.
James dropped me off, and I left the Lyft and wandered back into the place I was staying, and promptly realized my phone was not in my pocket. After about 3 minutes, I headed out to the road to see if my phone had slipped from my pocket in the street. It hadn’t.
The next morning I contacted Lyft, seeking their assistance in contacting James. They sent him an email, to which he didn’t respond. I asked them to try again; perhaps he had missed the message. He failed to respond to a second email, and then a third.
After the third they recommended I contact the authorities. I was reluctant to do so, as I had hoped James would do the right thing and give my phone back. I messaged the company, asking them to contact him about a reward, anything.
Unfortunately, Lyft simply requested that I contact the authorities and that they would supply them with information about the driver, given a subpoena. As I was visiting from out of town and had a flight to catch, I did so when I returned home.
Apparently it takes up to two days to file a police report. I currently have two pending. This is my only way of contacting the driver at this point.
Lyft continues to refer to my phone as something I “lost”, which I find to be a misleading term. I know who has (or had) my phone. Lyft knows who has my phone. Unfortunately for me, Lyft fails to make any real effort in helping me recover my property.
I did not want to involve the police. I don’t want to take action against James. I just want my property back. I’m not sure why this is such a hurdle.
I’m really surprised that Lyft is taking such a laissez-faire approach to the intentional withholding of personal property within the car of a person they contract to drive for them. They refuse to confirm if this individual is still driving for them, bringing to light deeper concerns for the safety of those who use Lyft as a safe ride home.
The response from this corporation is pretty unsettling.
Austin, TX recently made a move to disallow rideshare companies who fail to fingerprint their drivers. This was a controversial move, though one that was backed by voters in Texas. Though I frequently disagree with legislation that passes in Texas, I do think this move by Austin is the right one.
The decision to allow individuals with criminal intent to work for their company is irresponsible and dangerous. I only lost a phone, but given the disinterest from the people who have the means to make a difference and the lack of transparency in efforts to remedy situations such as this, I can’t help but be deeply concerned about the apparent apathy of companies such as Lyft toward the riders that sustain them.
Yeah, I’d like to get my phone back. That would be awesome. But more than that, I’d like to see the companies that we support show some reciprocity toward their users.