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- We asked Uber and Lyft drivers about the scariest incidents they’ve had working for the taxi apps.
- On the whole, most rides are uneventful and safe.
- But the few situations that occur can leave a driver scared on future rides.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The stories are reflective of a tiny minority of Uber and Lyft rides, but for many drivers, the harrowing tales of fellow chauffeurs brutally beaten, robbed, or even killed, are always front of mind.
Just this week, an Arizona man who drives for Lyft was shot and killed on his 52nd wedding anniversary. Before that, viral video showed a driver in New York beaten by a passenger. This list goes on and on.
Lyft and Uber, for their part, have responded by adding crisis response teams and in-app panic buttons that allow drivers to call 911 and share their location with first-responders.
Still, drivers say the company could do more to help keep them safe, like verifying the names or identities of riders.
We asked drivers to share some of their most harrowing stories from behind the wheel. Here’s what they said:
Paul, a driver in Los Angeles:
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"It was 2:30 on a Friday night ,or Saturday morning rather, when I got a request for a 45+ minute ride," he said in a[n interview. "Normally it’s worth it at this time because there’s no traffic. When I got to the ping, there was no one there so I called the guy who said he was walking down the road. Sure enough, I spotted him and he hopped in. I instantly felt uncomfortable. He said he wanted to go to the Hollywood sign to party all night. I should have ended the ride right there.
"As we were approaching the freeway, I realized I was going to need gas, so I pulled in to fill up. When I got back in the car, he had canceled the trip. He said he would pay me $100 if I drove him and stayed to party with him for a few hours, and $100 more to drive him home. I told him that was illegal and he needed to get out of my vehicle, but he didn’t listen. When I told him again, he started swearing and screaming at me like a mad man. I opened his door to help him out of my car and he got even angrier. He punched me in the face and I fell backward.
"Fortunately, a tow truck driver was in the station and witnessed the incident. He came over to assist and luckily he was a big man. He dragged the passenger out of my car and held him in an arm lock while I called the police.
"I contacted Lyft, who said they would deactivate him and investigate. Still, I was too unsettled to drive for a few days. I’m very glad that tow truck driver was there.
Queen, a driver in Washington, DC:
"A wealthy man from a posh neighborhood, who sat directly behind me, went over potential serial killer scenarios asking me how I would cope. He then became furious when I tried to reassure him about ride-share safety statistics
"’How dare you speak condescendingly to me!’ he yelled. Later, he wanted to know my work schedule and how he could ensure we meet up again. We could not. I reported him and requested never to be paired with him again.
Another story from Queen:
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"Two drunk men entered the vehicle, one in front and the other in back. My dash cam was on. The one in front wanted to change his destination to a strip club but refused to put it in the app.
"The guy in back began to massage my neck and shoulders, while the other commented on my physique and wanted me to go to the club also. Twilight was coming and there was torrential rain outside. The front seat driver grabbed my phone and replaced it with his phone, which meant I couldn’t see the GPS. I yelled at him to give it back while the back seat rider told me to calm down and that he loved me.
"I was not afraid of molestation because they were both very drunk. I was afraid of an accident due to so many things getting out of control. The guy in front finally tried to reach for my wheel. I jabbed him with my elbow and pulled over. "I threatened to kick them out if any more shenanigans, got my phone back and drove them to a safe place and ended the ride.
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