I have great concerns for my daughter’s safety. So I am hyper cautious when we are out late with her being single and mostly traveling alone. I insist that she take a cab ride home, and to call men when she is safely in her living room. That is why I was reviled and sickened to hear of her experience on night when she was traveling in New Jersey and needed a cab ride to the train station. As a millennial, she’s really big on Uber. She likes to be able to track the ride and share that progress with me. On this particular night however, her confidence in the ride sharing service was shattered, as an Uber driver who felt empowered to exploit her vulnerability put her in an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situation.
This is my daughter’s account, in her words…
“I am female. I was alone for the trip. When I first got in the cab the driver asked me if I was married or had children and I thought he was just making nervous conversation so I answered. He said he was single too and proceeded to hit on me. Since I was trapped in the car with him at that point and didn’t want to get out in a strange neighborhood I felt forced to too continue to converse with him even though I asked him if I could just sit in silence and that all I wanted was the ride.
He kept trying to talk to me and ask me personal inappropriate questions and then when he noticed I was nervous, he kept saying, “I hope you’re not offended,” and kept asking telling me that several times until I had to finally say, “hey listen, I don’t know how many times I have to say this until it gets through your head, all I want is the ride to the train station. Everything will be fine”. But he kept saying, “I hope you’re not offended, I hope you’re not offended”.
And it got uncomfortable because I was trapped in that car with him and I started to feel like if I said something wrong he would start acting out or doing something even more inappropriate.
Are these guys given training? Do they think that they are doing people a favor by offering rides in their personal car and therefore entitled to get up close and personal with the riders? All I want from your service is a ride. I didn’t ask for a best friend or a boyfriend. This is by far the worst ride I have ever had from your service.
Please train these guys. After the first greeting and maybe some opening banter between driver and rider, we are not obligated to entertain the driver. They need to understand that. And when guys like my driver get all entitled with single women, it’s threatening and hostile because we can’t walk away. That was a truly terrifying and hostile experience.”
Uber’s corporate entity was quick to respond…
“Thank you for reaching out, Patricia.
What you described here is concerning and we want to make sure that it’s handled appropriately. A member of our team will be in touch with you shortly to discuss this matter further. We appreciate your patience. If you have anything further to share in the meantime, please reply back and let us know.
Sent by Olivia on Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 11:45:31 AM”
Trust is something that is earned. My daughter was justified in her concerns. There have been documented attacks, assaults, and negligence going back years. To be fair, Uber and ride sharing operations like it might be growing faster than its training force can maintain quality controls. I am just grateful, that in this case, my daughter did not wind up physically harmed by this man. However, emotionally, Uber has some work to do to regain her trust.
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