Make Sure Your Next Uber Driver Isn't A Fake
And today in horrifying stories that prove how messed up the world is, a 28-year-old financial analyst who had come from Europe to work in New York for the year claims she was sexually assaulted by a fake Uber driver in March of 2015. According to the woman, who anynomously shared her story with Gothamist, she was leaving the bar at the Standard High Line Hotel in Chelsea on March 28 when she saw a car with an Uber sticker turn down a group because the driver only took cash. Unfamiliar with how Uber worked, she said she thought she had finally found a ride home, since all the yellow cabs were taken.
After she jumped in, things took a turn for the creepy, she told Gothamist:
As soon as I got in he asked me for a cigarette and I gave it to him. And then he started saying to me how beautiful I am and stuff like that. And when we took off, he started touching me. First my leg. Ugh. He started touching me more and more in intimate places and my breasts and everything. And I tried to push him away all the time but of course you're not going to jump out of a driving car.
From there, she said, the situation only got scarier:
He was constantly saying that he wanted to sleep with me and we should pull over so he could have some fun. Then he said to me, "Yeah, I'm married, so it's fine. I can do this stuff." Ugh. It was really really scary. The drive took about 15 or 20 minutes and when we stopped at the place I wanted to be he tried to kiss me and he actually did. Then he wanted to have $30 in cash and he said, "Yeah, you don't have to pay if you give me other services." So I just gave him the money and jumped out of the car.
Impressively, she told Gothamist that even in her shaken-up state, she remembered to write down the license number and call the police. But unfortunately, though she claimed she is sure she wrote it down accurately, the number seemingly didn't match any registered vehicle; furthermore, even though she was 99 percent certain someone in a mug shot the police showed her was her attacker, they allegedly couldn't bring him in because he didn't already have a sex crime on his record.
Since then, Uber contacted the New York Police Department and told Gothamist that no Uber driver should be taking cash or accepting street hails in New York City. Gothamist also spoke with Allan Fromberg, Deputy Commissioner for the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, who warned New Yorkers about cars that line up with cabs but are not legally registered. Said Fromberg, "If a vehicle is soliciting you to get in and it's not a yellow taxi — danger! Do not get into that vehicle."
Even if it's a licensed vehicle, the cab is not allowed to pick people up on the street unless it's yellow — or green in certain parts of the city, he added.Other incidents have been reported of sexual assault involving unlicensed cabs, as well as actual Uber cars in New York, Boston, Los Angeles ... the list goes on.Ending these assaults is the responsibility of the government, society at large, and you know, the criminals themselves — the only long-term solution to them being to teach people not to rape and assault in the first place. Since we still live in a world in which this hasn't happened yet, though, at least there are still some ways we can watch out for ourselves and retain the power that sex offenders try to take away from us. In addition to avoiding unlicensed vehicles, you can ask your Uber driver, "Who are you picking up?" Your name shows up on the app for them, so if they don't know it, something's up. And if you hail a traditional cab, depending what city you live in, look out for color coding and photo identification.
But let me say it again: It's unacceptable that we live in a world where these tips are even necessary. This woman's harrowing cab experience reflects poorly not on her, but on the person who assaulted her — end of story.
Images: Getty Images (2)