A cat named Tux who got separated from their pet parent during a Lyft ride is now home in Austin, Texas. The fateful separation occurred on Saturday, when the pair used the rideshare service together to seek veterinary care at a pet hospital.
Cat disappears during rideshare to pet hospital
According to KXAN, Palash Pandey is the pet parent of a black-and-white cat named Tux. Over the weekend, Pandey used Lyft to take the cat to Banfield Pet Hospital on Research Boulevard. Upon arrival at the location, Pandey exited the car. Then, he went around to the other side to grab Tux’s carrier. But the Lyft driver drove off before Pandey could retrieve his fur baby!
“I like, ran behind him, screaming like, ‘wait, wait, wait.’ I banged on his windows hoping that he would notice me and just stop. But instead of that he just like, peeled off, he drove away,” Pandey told KXAN. “I don’t know how else you would perceive somebody who you just dropped off running behind you and banging on your windows and doors. I don’t know if there’s a charitable explanation for that.”
Pandey used the Lyft app to try to contact the driver. But he did not receive a response and soon hit the message limit. Lyft’s live support was equally unhelpful.
Pandey decided to file a report with the Austin Police Department about the ordeal. He also shared the situation on social media. Approximately three hours later, the Lyft driver contacted Pandey.
“He called me back saying that he doesn’t know where my cat is. He said that he had riders right out after my drop off, said that he went to pick up people right after he dropped me off,” Pandey recalled.
Pandey put up flyers on Sunday in the hopes of finding his cat. “The community here is very nice. I’m hoping that somebody picked it up, and took her in. I’m just hoping that I can find that person and get her back home,” he said at the time.
Lyft responds to lost cat incident
A Lyft spokesperson refuted the claims that the company was unsympathetic to Pandey’s plight or unresponsive to the lost cat situation.
“In addition to communicating with Palesh, we have been directly in touch with the driver and other passengers that rode with him following the ride with Palesh,” a Lyft spokesperson said in a statement to KXAN on Sunday afternoon.
“We realize we could have done better in communicating regular updates to Palesh and the community. We all want the same outcome – for Tux to get home safely – and will keep the community posted,” the statement continued.
Lyft sent out notifications about Tux and hired investigators to find the cat. They located the feline about a mile away from the drop-off point around 1:30 a.m. on Monday. Tux and Pandey reunited in the early morning hours on Monday. The cat reportedly drank water, ate food, and got a clean bill of health from the vet.
Just got back from the vet. Tux has clean bill of health. I’m quite sure she thinks she was just playing the game stray in VR Thank you everyone for helping.
You guys have restored my faith in the community. pic.twitter.com/ehm1sTRxVV
— palash pandey (@palashp40616755) October 2, 2023
In a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Lyft CEO David Risher asked the public not to “vilify the driver.” Apparently, the driver was subject to “unwarranted threats and is just as distraught as we all are.” In another post, Risher confirmed that the driver was “deactivated for now.”
“We are actively working with all involved to fully understand the situation,” Lyft said in a post on X. “We must do better in how we support our community. And, we will.”