Showing the patience of Job

I like to think of myself as someone not easily provoked to anger. But I do have hot buttons that can be pushed and one of them is when people are rude and insulting, especially when it is without any provocation. So I was immensely impressed with the patience of Lyft driver Shawn Pepas Lettman who was at the receiving end of a racist barrage from an obnoxious customer Robert Ortiz who was outraged, simply outraged, because his request for music was not acted on.

Lettman recorded the tirade that he experienced from Ortiz. I watched the whole 15 minutes or so because I was amazed that he could sit calmly and silently while Ortiz went on and on making all manner of taunting and racist comments against him, saying that Lettman was racist because Ortiz was gay and not black. I wonder if Ortiz acted so tough because he had a group of friends with him and Lettman was alone. Ortiz, like many people, demonstrates that a little lawyering is a dangerous thing. He must be getting his legal knowledge from TV shows because he makes laughable threats about his legal rights and what he can do to Lettman and Lyft. He also proudly claims to be a Trump supporter, though why that is relevant is not clear except that Trump supporters think that him being president validates their obnoxious behavior.

But the aftermath was not so kind to Ortiz. First a statement from Lyft.

“The behavior exhibited in the video is deeply concerning. Lyft is committed to maintaining an inclusive and welcoming community and discriminatory behavior is unacceptable. We temporarily deactivated both passenger and driver accounts while we investigated the situation. After reviewing all sides, we reactivated Mr. Lettman’s account within hours and permanently disabled the passenger account. We have also reached out to Mr. Lettman to express our support.”

Then there was this statement from Ortiz’s employer.

On Thursday, Ortiz’s former employer, CityMD, a medical clinic, wrote in a Facebook comment, “This is to confirm that this individual was terminated and is no longer employed by or affiliated with CityMD in any capacity.”

According to Instinct Magazine, because Ortiz shared his phone number with the 911 operator and it was recorded on video, he received so many harassing calls that he changed his number.

Lettman explains how he was able to be so calm.

Anticipating a potential lawsuit from Ortiz, Lettman launched a GoFundMe page called “Insulted but not broken,” in which he wrote: “When my mother died she taught me a very important lesson, which was always useful but more now than ever. She taught patience, humble and calm will get you through anything. As a father of 2 my single means of providing for my wife and children is driving a rideshare, accommodating people from all walks of life. All of which I treat with the utmost respect, after all, I must provide for my family.” As of Thursday, he had raised nearly $26,000, well past the $20,000 goal.

He also addressed why he kept his cool during the attack — or as one GoFundMe supporter put it: “You, sir, have the patience of a saint.”

“I wanted to defuse the narrative that all black men are aggressive and violent,” Lettman said. “Some of us we are actually capable of performing in an intelligent setting… It’s not always worth it to use your fists.”

I can only echo Kipling’s words, “You’re a better man that I am, Gunga Din!”


  1. grasshopper says

    Always start with a joke.
    A cute, young thing was asked if she liked Kipling. “I don’t know,” she said. “I have never kippled.”

    And leave them weeping.
    A little more Kipling …

    Take up the White Man’s burden —
    Send forth the best ye breed —
    Go bind your sons to exile
    To serve your captives’ need;
    To wait in heavy harness,
    On fluttered folk and wild —
    Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
    Half-devil and half-child.

    I have always preferred H. Rider Haggard to Kipling. Horace Rumpole makes reference to Rider Haggard’s novel “She” when he refers to his wife, Hilda, as “She who must be obeyed.”

  2. sonofrojblake says

    Ortiz’s former employer

    And the crowd goes wild.

    But hey -- I’m sure he’s sure he’s entitled to another job, right? I wish I could be a fly on the wall next time this shit tries to take a cab.

  3. Just an Organic Regular Expression says

    So… what happened?!?! Did the police ever come? Did the guy ever get out of the car?

  4. Just an Organic Regular Expression says

    Oh, on the gofundme page he adds only this, “After the end of the video, i had to also call the police for myself expressing my concerns and fear of what will happen if i was not assisted. Luckily there was no physical confrontation…” Still not clear if the police ever showed. Video of a NYPD officer trying to sort this out would have been priceless…

  5. mailliw says

    Many thanks Mano, everytime anything annoys me this week I will think I shall be thinking of Shawn Pepas Lettman. What a guy!

    Mind you, nothing ever happens to me that is as downright disgustingly insulting as what Mr Lettman had to to tolerate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *