But if Kimiai didn’t want to go down in history as the nefarious “Uber cough monster”, she probably should have worn a face mask and not assaulted the driver, both of which are typically required of Uber passengers.
The tale of ‘Uber Cough Monster’ Arna Kimiai
The highly publicized incident occurred in early March on Sunday around 12:45 p.m., when Uber driver Subhakar Khadka picked up Kimiai and her two friends, 22-year-old Malaysia King and an unknown third woman.
In a now-viral video of the incident recorded by Khadka’s dashcam and released by CBSN Bay Area news affiliate KPIX, the three women are seen entering the vehicle with Kimiai not wearing a mask.
When Khadka spotted that Kimiai was maskless he said he asked her to put one on. Khadka offered to drive to a nearby gas station so she could purchase one, but the women began harassing and mocking him with racial slurs.
Khadka’s video starts with Kimiai telling him “F– the masks!” and then coughing on him aggressively as all three women berate him. The video shows Kimia grabbing the driver’s cell phone from the dashboard and tearing off his face mask.
After the three women left the vehicle, King sprayed the driver with pepper spray through the passenger window.
Khadka, 32, believes the women targeted him because he is from South Asia. “I never said anything bad to them, I never cursed, I was not raised that way. I don’t hit people, I am not raised that way, so they were not getting out of my car,” he told KPIX.
Uber bully responds to internet backlash with topless video
The video went viral, sparking some serious internet backlash against the three Uber bullies. In response, Kimiai posted a series of rambling (and for some reason, topless) videos on social media. Dressed in a pink bra and underwear, Kimiai said she and her friends attacked the driver because he tried to leave them “the middle of buttf– nowhere in the hood.”
In one video, she confesses she smacked the driver, took off his mask, and coughed on him admits that she smacked him, took off his mask, and coughed on him but insists she “ain’t even have corona.”
She also admits, “I was disrespectful and dead-ass wrong.”
In a video, Kimiai says she plans to sue Uber and prefers using Lyft.
Lyft later released a statement condemning Kimiai’s behavior and banning her permanently, reports KNEWZ. Uber also has banned Kimiali from the rideshare service, writing in an email to KPIX, “The behavior seen in the video is appalling. The rider no longer has access to Uber.”
Since publishing the videos, Kimiai’s Instagram account has been deactivated.
Last month, Kimia and her fellow rider, King, were both arrested and charged for the incident.
Kimiai was charged with felonies of assault and attempted first-degree robbery, plus misdemeanor charges of battery on a transit employee and violating a local health ordinance. King, who was arrested in Las Vegas on a warrant from California, is charged with assault with a caustic chemical, conspiracy, assault and battery, and a health and safety code violation.
Despite effectively admitting to the assault and giving a sort-of apology, Arna Kimiai entered a not guilty plea last week, reports CBS SF.
Kimiai is free on bail until May 3, though the judge ordered her to check in with Assertive Case Management three times a week. It’s unclear if King, her codefendant, is also out on bail.