An Uber driver in New York may lose his eyesight after he was bashed in the face with a cell phone for refusing an to pick up an ‘illegal’ passenger.
Dash cam video from the car of Gui Ping Han, 45, released by police on Wednesday, September 29, shows the suspect, with a bandana covering the lower part of his face, standing in the middle of E. 14th St. near Third Ave. in the East Village about 3:05 a.m. on Aug. 28, just after the attack.
Gui Ping Han says he suffered a detached right retina from the assault and that the injuries have forced him out of work.
Ping Han, a Chinese immigrant, said the assault was sudden and happened after he refused picking up the stranger who tried to jail him on the road instead of using the app.
“My first customer was smoking weed in my car. The smell lingered in my car,” Ping Han said in Mandarin through an interpreter.
“I rolled down the window for more ventilation when I’m about to pick up the second customer.”
While Ping Han was stopped at a red light, the suspect waved to get his attention and demanded he gave him a ride.
But Ping Han refused, as in New York only yellow medallion taxis are allowed to pick up street hails .
“I was explaining to him that he’s not my customer,” Ping Han said. “Then out of the blue — it happened so fast, I don’t even know when — he punched my right eye.”
EMS took Ping Han to New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, where he was treated and released.
But a month after the attack, he still wears a bandage over his still swollen eye.
“The first hospital suggested me to take the eyeball out,” he said. “I don’t know what will happen.”
“The doctor told me it’ll take about one month or so for the swollen eyes to go down. It’s uncertain if I can ever see from that eye again,” he said. “If I lost my eyesight, if it’s just one eye, probably not a good idea to drive.”
Ping Han is the sole provider for his and his wife’s 22-year-old son, who’s a college student in China.
“If I became disabled, it would put my family in trouble,” he said.