Customer claims Lyft driver refused to let her in because of race

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A woman needed a ride after dropping off a rental car so she ordered a Lyft.

But what she didn't expect, was the driver to refuse her service.

"I couldn't believe it - that someone would not even let me even get in their car," said Sharnell Spivey Simmons. "Because it's your job to take me where I need to go."

But it was a job that one driver, allegedly, would not take.

Simmons says an Arab Lyft driver refused her service Tuesday, as she waited outside Avis car rental at Fairlane Center mall.

She dropped off a rental car during her lunch break and requested a ride back to the Henry Ford Medical Center in Dearborn, but was stunned by what happened next.

"I walked over to his car and he cracked the window and he said 'Did you call for a Lyft?' I said 'Yes you're looking for Sharnell, that's me.' 

"He was like, 'No you cancel, you cancel.' I said 'No I didn't cancel.' I showed him my phone and said 'No, it's right here it's still active. I called for the Lyft. He said 'No, you need to cancel it.' 

"And he locked his doors and basically just drove off." 

Sharnell says she then canceled the ride and requested a new driver who took her back to work. As for the first driver?

FOX 2: "Why do you think he did that?"

"I'm assuming because I'm black," she said. "When someone approaches your car and you don't roll the window down all the way that automatically lets me know you don't trust me from the start."

While some would accuse Sharnelle of playing the race card those who actually studied this issue say her experience is a common one. 

Economists from the University of Washington, Stanford and MIT did the research and found that when it comes to Uber, Lyft and Flywheel there's "significant evidence of racial discrimination." 

A stark finding after many predicted ride sharing services would be far less discriminating than taxis.

Sharnell complained to Lyft earlier this week and got a response after we contacted the company Thursday afternoon. 

"I am so sorry to hear about this entire experience. This sort of behavior by a driver is a violation of our terms of service and is something we absolutely do not tolerate in the Lyft community."

"When I learned in school hearing Martin Luther King speeches about judging others by the content of their character and not the color of our skin, is very relevant today," said Simmons.

WEB UPDATE: Lyft provided a statement after the 11 p.m. deadline which has been included below:

"These allegations are disturbing and unacceptable. Lyft is committed to maintaining an inclusive and welcoming community, and we have zero tolerance for this type of behavior. We have reached out to the passenger to offer our support and assistance, and have deactivated the driver."