Lyft driver jailed for allegedly stalking passenger who owed $1.16

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 31: An Amp sits on the dashboard of a Lyft driver's car on January 31, 2017 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images for Lyft)
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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 31: An Amp sits on the dashboard of a Lyft driver's car on January 31, 2017 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images for Lyft)

Former Florida Lyft driver Karen Burd was arrested and accused of stalking after repeatedly attempting to get a customer to pay the $1.16 that she allegedly owed her, WKMG reported.

The unpaid fare was reportedly for tolls that weren't picked up by her transponder, and her efforts to get the change out of the customer ended up costing her $500 to get out of jail, WOFL reported.

“I left a message at her workplace, and I thought she didn’t get it, because sometimes they put it aside,” Burd said. “(After a) three weeks span, I put another message, I walk out. Then Monday, I think it was, a message: ‘Please call me.’ And that’s it, ‘Put the $1.16 in the envelope.’”

However, the passenger she was trying to track down told police that Burd’s behavior made her feel threatened.

“Stalking means being aggressive, to me,” Burd argued. “I could have sat in (the) lobby or waited outside. I put a note in there and left immediately ... I wouldn’t hurt a mouse.”

After Burd's first note, the passenger contacted Lyft to resolve the problem. However, she claims to have received multiple voicemail messages and eventually "clearly observed" Burd showing up at her workplace, a hotel, the Orlando Sentinel reported. She hid out of Burd's view and told her boss and hotel security, who called the police. Burd was then arrested and charged with misdemeanor stalking.

According to a report, the passenger “heard Karen ask her co-workers where she was at and if she had any money left for her.” She told police Burd showed up at her job “unannounced, uninvited and without permission,” the report said.

In a statement, Lyft said, “The safety of the Lyft community is our top priority, and this type of behavior is unacceptable. After learning about this incident from the passenger, we immediately and permanently removed the driver’s access to Lyft. We stand ready to support the authorities in their investigation.”

Burd called the ordeal traumatizing and costly, saying, “All of a sudden, (an officer) says, ‘Put your hands behind your back!’ He just baited me and is very mean to me. It’s just the principal. I shouldn’t use my money to pay for a customer’s fare.”

Burd said her persistence for the $1.16 wasn’t because she needed the money but because of principle.

“I shouldn’t take my money to pay for a customers fare,” she told WOFL.

Burd said her experience in jail was traumatizing.

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