Dashcam video surreptitiously recorded by Uber driver Fawzi Kamel shows company CEO Travis Kalanick getting a ride earlier this month about which he'll soon be forced to give a comment and apology, a new habit for him.
Bloomberg obtained the above video, which is from Sunday, February 5, and shows Kalanick, legs spread in the middle seat between two women friends in an Uber Black car, the company's higher-end offering. They make conversation and play music. It's banal. They ask about his birthday and astrological sign, in disbelief that he's a Leo.
Talk turns momentarily to the company he runs. Asked, indirectly, about a "hard year" at Uber, “I make sure every year is a hard year, That’s kind of how I roll," Kalanick says, showing off the ethos he's made into a brand. "I make sure every year is a hard year. If it’s easy I’m not pushing hard enough.”
When they reach their destination at about the 3:45 mark in the video, Kalanick shakes hands with their driver, Kamel, who is well aware of who Kalanick is, and says he's met him before. Kalanick gets ready to leave, but Kamel takes the elevator with the boss moment to question Kalanick over the lower rates the company has set for drivers.
First they discuss, then they begin to argue. “You’re raising the standards, and you’re dropping the prices,” says Kamel. "People are not trusting you anymore... I lost $97,000 because of you. I'm bankrupt because of you. Yes, yes, yes. You keep changing every day. You keep changing every day.”
"Some people don't like to take responsibility for their own shit," Kalanick replies, after calling "bullshit" on Kamel. "They blame everything in their life on somebody else. " Maybe Kamel should just push harder, you know, Kalanick style. "Good luck!” he tells Kamel, leaving the car.
Kamel is right that Uber drivers generally work a lot for little money, to make no mention of the master plan to replace them with self-driving cars ASAP. But it's Kalanick who needs luck at the moment, as his companions hinted, bedeviled as he is by a laundry list of scandals from a lawsuit with Google over allegedly stolen autonomous technology to allegations of harassment at Uber which, by the way, Kalanick once called "Boober" to GQ because of the attention it got him from women. Personally, and unlike the ladies seen with him in the video, I don't find it hard to believe that this guy's a Leo.