I have a confession to make: I am an Uber virgin. There is always one flaw in a marketing plan, and that flaw is me—they offered the first ride for free, and I’ve been hoarding it like a squirrel hoards nuts, determined not to use it until I really, really need it, and as a result, I never have. That, and the few times I’ve ever needed to desperately get from one place to another faster than public transport could take me, a regular old taxi has luckily always been one awkward arm flail away.
It turns out, though, that I might be better off for it. Uber has had some pretty scuzzy allegations come out in the past few weeks, including abuse of privacy, threatening to dig up dirt on journalists, and most upsettingly, incidents of sexual assault. The controversy has lit up Twitter with new trends #UberGate and #DeleteUber, with many users deciding to get rid of the potentially invasive app and stop using the service for good. In case you needed any more reason to join them, here are some of the worst Uber horror stories since the company's beginnings.
An Uber Driver Told A Women "You Deserve Cancer"
Alexandra Craigle, a cancer patient undergoing radiation in New York, called for an Uber ride after one of her treatments. Within a minute of ordering it, she canceled, which prompted the Uber driver to call three times, leave a threatening voicemail, and then text her a stream of nasty texts personally attacking her, one of which read said that she deserved cancer.
Uber gave Craigle a $30 credit, but no word on whether or not the driver had been dismissed.
An Uber Driver Struck And Killed A Six-Year-Old Girl
The service claimed that the driver was “off duty” despite the fact that Syed Muzaffer, the Uber driver who struck and killed a 6-year-old girl in San Francisco, was operating a vehicle for Uber the night of the tragedy. Uber hired Muzaffer despite previous reckless driving charges.
An Uber Driver Abducted A Woman
An Uber rider in Los Angeles called for a ride home, and after getting into the vehicle the driver took her twenty miles out of the way and into an empty parking lot where he locked the doors on her despite her protestations and attempts to get out of the car. The abduction went on for two hours, and he only returned her when she started to scream and kick up enough of a fuss.
In response, Uber apologized for the driver accidentally taking an “inefficient route” and only partially refunded her.
An Uber Driver Raped A Woman
Despite strong evidence against him, Uber driver Anouar Habib Trabelsi was not prosecuted after the rape of a 20-year-old rider in Washington, D.C.
An Uber Driver Assaulted A Passenger For Burping
After passenger Seth Bender burped and excused himself in an Uber in Washington, D.C., driver Hamsah Abu Shariah went on an anti-American and anti-gay rant and then went on to assault Bender when he exited the vehicle, spitting at him and slapping him in the face. He was dismissed from the Uber service.
Uber Tracks "Walks Of Shame"
There was a post on the company blog called “Rides Of Glory” where employees had actually tracked passenger’s use of the app between the hours of 10PM and 4AM to determine which users got dropped off and picked up from one night stands in different cities on holidays spanning the whole year.
Everyday Sexual Harassment
#UberGate is blowing up with instances of sexual harassment faced by women in Uber vehicles, including this creepy account from an anonymous user:
“One time I took an Uber home after having a really rough night and was upset in the car and may or may not have been crying because my roommate ditched me for a guy. The driver was trying to make me feel better and was saying nice things to me. When he got to my apartment he got out of the car and told me he was interested in me and wanted to come in my apartment. Needless to say, I peaced out of that situation but it was super creepy and made me uncomfortable, especially because I was alone with him at 3 AM!”
An Uber Driver Held A Woman's Phone Ransom
She left it in the Uber earlier that night, and he said that he would return it to her only if she gave him $500. Uber deactivated the driver’s account until he returned it, but although she made plans to meet the driver to get the phone, he never showed and Uber did not reimburse her.
A Fired Uber Driver Harassed A Woman And Her Employer
Olivia Nuzzi, writer for the Daily Beast, was riding in an Uber when the driver revealed to her that an hour before she’d called him, he had taken close range pictures of her. When she reported the incident to Uber, they fired him without her knowledge, at which point he began not only harassing her, but her employers. Despite Uber’s insistence that there would be no privacy invasion from the app, the driver had access to her full name, address, and place of work.
An Uber Driver Took An Intoxicated Woman To A Hotel
When a female passenger was too drunk to tell him her address, an Uber rider in Los Angeles reportedly took her to the Panorama Motel, where she woke up with him the next morning after being fondled by the driver. The driver has since been dismissed.
Uber Thinks You Should Pay For Your Safety
Uber’s response to all of the shenanigans? Slapping down a one dollar “safety” fee to every ride, so they can commit more resources to doing thorough background checks on their drivers, which, if anything, just confirms that they were doing a terrible job of it in the first place. It shouldn’t be a rider’s responsibility to make sure the drivers are safe, it should be the responsibility of the COMPANY THAT HIRES THEM.