David Kangogo, 30, told Newsweek that the man, since identified as Joe Kassuba, had taken off his mask during a ride in Issaquah, Washington, on November 17.
Lyft requires both drivers and passengers to wear face coverings to limit the spread of COVID amid the ongoing pandemic.
Kangogo said he had asked Kassuba to keep his mask on, because otherwise “he’s putting me at risk and all the other passengers I pick up after him.”
But Kangogo said the man ignored his request and started hurling racial slurs at him. The driver said he began filming at that point.
The clip he captured went viral when it was later posted on Twitter, and prompted Lyft to permanently ban Kassuba from the ride-hailing platform and his employer to fire him.
Kassuba later issued an apology over the incident.
A week after the incident, Kangogo said he had tested positive for the virus and is in quarantine. In a post on Instagram, he said he started feeling unwell on Friday and got tested for the virus the following day.
“I started feeling sick on Friday Nov 20th, on Saturday Nov 21st I went in for a COVID test and on Sunday it got a lot worse,” the post said. “I got my results back on Monday evening and as I feared I had contracted COVID 19.”
He also thanked people for their well wishes and urged people to wear masks and practice social distancing.
Last week, Kangogo told Newsweek he had been left “literally shaking” after his encounter with Kassuba and his female companion.
Kassuba can be heard saying in the clip: “You’re a sand n*****. That’s what you are. You’re a f****** sand n*****. Fuck you!” after getting out of the vehicle.
After the video went viral, Kassuba’s employer, Wilbur-Ellis, confirmed it had terminated his position with the company. His (now-deleted) LinkedIn page listed him as a software engineer with the business.
“Wilbur-Ellis learned of a disturbing video circulating on social media that portrays disgusting racial comments made by one of our employees,” the company said in a statement.
“Wilbur-Ellis has zero tolerance for racism. The employee has been terminated effective immediately. The quick and decisive action we took demonstrates that racism in any form will not be tolerated by our company.”
Kassuba has also issued an apology to Kangogo, saying he regrets his behavior.
“I should never have said the things I said nor acted like a complete idiot,” he said in a statement posted on social media by a reporter. “He didn’t deserve that. Nobody does. I had too much to drunk and lost control of my tongue and I said horrible things that I truly regret.”
*By Khaleda Rahman, NewsWeek*