A woman in Seattle said she jumped out of a moving Uber ride after the driver continually harassed her, running away and later filing reports with the local police department and Uber. She said the driver, whom she’d hailed to take her home, locked the doors shortly before she pried one open and jumped out.
Seattle news station KCPQ reports that Sid Grogan said she hailed an Uber around midnight on Sunday, only to be alarmed by what her male driver said during the ride—and, later, what she said he did. From the story:
“He keeps saying, ‘So where are we going to go, where are we going to go to talk, where should I take us?’” Grogan said. “He kept repeating that and I kept answering the same thing. I said, ‘I’m going home, I’d like you to take me home.’”
That’s when she said he pulled over and put his hazard lights on. She said he turned around, looked at her and again asked where he could take the two of them. When she repeated that she just wanted to go home, she said he slowly turned around, locked the car and started driving.
The unnamed driver has since been suspended from the Uber app pending an investigation, thus KCPQ likely didn’t have access to him for a response. KCPQ reports that Uber did say when a complaint results in the suspension of a driver, it means the driver will be permanently banned “more often than not.”
Grogan shared the story on Facebook as a warning later, KCPQ reports, and she said two women contacted her after the post went viral—both saying they had similar experiences with the same driver. (The story doesn’t appear under the public posts on Grogan’s Facebook page, so Jalopnik wasn’t able to see whether she included the driver’s name in it or whether that was brought up later.)
KCPQ reported that there have been a “series” of reported sexual assaults by ride-hailing drivers or by men pretending to be drivers in the area, but that police told Grogan she did everything right by getting out of the car as soon as she could. From KCPQ:
“All I can think about is that he’s just going to take me somewhere he wants to take me and I wasn’t going to stick around to find out,” she said. [...]
[Det. Patrick Michaud] said you should share your location and trip details with someone if riding alone.
Uber has installed a safety feature that allows you to share your location with friends during the trip. You can also share your location with the police and call 911 directly from the app if you’re in trouble.
Whatever the result of Uber’s investigation, the scary reality of ride-hailing, and any other form of transportation where an unfamiliar driver has the power to do things like lock doors or manipulate the situation, is that many people, especially women, do feel a sense of real, potential danger—especially when riding alone or riding to a personal address. The company has the ability to at least someone filter rider-driver pairings, given its feature that enables female Saudi drivers to only transport other women. Uber called it a “global first” for the company in announcing it in April, but didn’t mention plans to spread it to other places.
But, in Grogan’s case, she told KCPQ that the driver was taking her home and thus had her address. She hasn’t felt safe staying in her house since, she said, and has also deleted all of her ride-hailing apps.