Who is Tux, and why did Austinites get push notifications from Lyft about her?
An Austin man has been reunited with his cat after a stressful search following a Lyft ride.
Palash Pandey's Lyft ride turned into a nightmare after he said his driver took off with his pet cat, Tux, as he was dropped off at an animal hospital for an appointment.
The incident happened Saturday, September 30, just before 3:30 p.m., according to Pandey. He said he had Tux inside of a cat carrier bag in the backseat. Once he was dropped off at Banfield Pet Hospital off Research Boulevard in northwest Austin, he got out and went around to open the door. But by the time he started to open it, he claims the driver sped off.
"I ran behind him. I was banging on his door, was banging on his window," Pandey said.
Pandey said he messaged the driver through the Lyft app. The messages provided to KVUE by Pandey show only a few messages from the driver hours later that read, "I don't have anything of yours" and "She isn't there sorry."
In the conversation, the driver also noted he had picked up others after his ride with Pandey and there was nothing in the backseat area.
"He said that if he knew that I had a cat with me, he would have canceled the ride. He said that he picked up multiple people after me and none of them mentioned the cat, which is, how's that, again, possible?" Pandey said.
Pandey said he reported the incident to the Austin Police Department, reached out to Lyft and posted on social media to spread the word. That led to an immense response.
Pandey noted Tux has a microchip and said he had also been in contact with the microchip company.
KVUE posted about the effort to find Tux, which led to a response from Lyft CEO David Risher.
KVUE reached out to Lyft on Sunday. A spokesperson released the following statement below:
"We were in touch with Palesh within minutes of his initial outreach to @lyft - via social media as well as multiple emails and phone calls. 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. 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."
After the statement was sent out, Vice President of Customer Service at Lyft Jody Kelman spoke with KVUE about the company's response.
"We certainly want to be part of helping him find his cat, Tux. Tux is clearly a wonderful member of his family," Kelman said.
Kelman said the company would notify Lyft employees in the Austin area and have employees on the ground in the area where the drop-off occurred.
"We also are are sending out a notification to all of our riders and drivers in Austin to see if if there is anything we can can do to just find find more information about what's happening with Tux," Kelman said.
Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.