Last weekend, I went out with my friend, Moira and listened as she recounted a strange experience with her Uber driver.
“It was a long drive, about 45 minutes and [the Uber cab driver and I] talked the whole way. He was nice, and the drive seemed to go very quickly. When we got to my apartment in Stamford, he asked if he could use my restroom. I felt awkward about saying no. I didn’t really want him to come in, but I didn’t know what else to say, so I said ‘ok.’ I waited outside with the door open until he came out because I didn’t want to be in the apartment alone with him.
It wasn’t until well after he left and was getting ready for bed that I noticed he had left his backpack. SOB left it on purpose! He called me the next day and asked if I would meet him for a drink. ‘No, I will put it outside my door, you can pick it up there.’ I told him.
Perhaps Moira should have listened to her gut and said “no” to the driver’s request to use her facilities, but there is no doubt that the driver crossed the line. Who knows what would have happened if she had entered the apartment with him.
While Uber appears to be taking safety very seriously, it cannot screen for opportunistic applicants. Here are a few tips to think about how to stay safe when using Uber or other taxi services.
Tell someone that you are taking Uber. The app will send you the information about the car and driver that will pick you up - copy your screen and send it to a friend of family member.
Listen to your instincts. If you don’t feel comfortable when you get in, just get out. At the end of the ride, even if you have had the best conversation of your life, do not allow the driver to accompany you to your door or inside.
Drinking and riding - yes, it is safer than drinking and driving, but if you are really intoxicated, it may be better to ask a friend to pick you up rather than risk getting into an Uber cab with a stranger.
Alternatively, just ride with a friend. The buddy system will save you money and keep you safe.
Consider taking a Safe & Secure training course.
Take charge of your own personal safety, don’t be a victim.