A group of female drivers for apps like Lyft and Uber have candidly shared details about their shocking experiences with sexual harassment at the hands of their passengers – both men and women.
The compilation of interviews, shared by Cosmopolitan.com, reveals the harrowing stories of different women who have been propositioned for sex, kissed by their passengers, and called a b***h.
Each of the women, who are aged between 23 and 38, also reveal that, despite the inappropriate advances they’ve experienced, their only protocol response is to give the passenger a low rating and contact their driving companies, only to receive a standard response apology.
Working woman: Eleven women between the ages 23 to 38 share their horror stories of harassment while driving Lyft or Uber with unruly and aggressive passengers
One driver Maggie, 31, revealed that she received the shock of her life her very first night driving for Uber, but thankfully she brought her boyfriend a long just in case.
Maggie picked up a man from a bar who hit on her and her boyfriend inviting them to ‘fool around’ at his house. After letting him down and arriving at the passenger’s destination he shocked them with a disgusting message.
‘Well, I’m glad your boyfriend was with you to keep me from raping you,’ the passenger said.
Maggie has since started ‘driving with pepper spray and my gun after that, but I couldn’t figure out how to report him,’ she shared to Cosmopolitan.
A common story for many of the women were aggressive comments of passengers that crossed the line of light banter.
The wife was persistent… she kept asking if I had ever been with a white girl
Uber driver Vanessa, 38, shared that she was propositioned for sex while on the job, and was left in shock by the offensive message.
‘I’ve been asked by a man if I would turn the app off and take him somewhere and he would give me cash, which I assumed was propositioning me for sex,’ she said.
The man was intoxicated in the front seat and pressed on asking where Vanessa lived. It wasn’t until a friend in the back woke up and said something in Spanish that the man hushed his advances.
After she reported the unruly passenger she received the generic apology email, unsure if there would be any repercussions at all for the rude man.
‘I’m not going to say I felt scared, but it was a moment of disbelief, like, am I really getting propositioned right now? It’s not something I’m used to,’ she shared.
Another time an intoxicated passenger placed his hand on Vanessa’s thigh. And despite her persistence to move it, he removed it only for a moment then returned to place his hand on her leg. On his way out he asked about her plans for the night and if she wanted to get drinks, to which she promptly responded no. After he left she reported him and gave him a one star rating.
Lyft driver ShaQueta, 35, said that she experienced sexual propositions several times from passengers, all of which left her squirming in her seat in discomfort.
She shared that one experience was at the hands of a very drunk wife and sober husband. The wife propositioned her to come home with them and the husband supported her antics.
‘She asked me if I wanted to go home with her and her husband, and that they had never had a black girl come home with them… The wife was really persistent, asking if I had ever been with a white girl, and I said I had never been with a girl at all. Then her husband said something like, “There’s a first time for everything,”‘ ShaQueta said.
She brushed the couple off, but the drunk woman then unbuckled her seat belt and began to rub ShaQueta’s hair and neck. She proceeded to drop them off and refused their invitation, but didn’t report them, knowing the wife was really drunk.
Another time she picked up two girls she had driven before, and they invited her to go out with them. They requested her later in the night and invited her home with them; and when she told them that she wasn’t interested, they began to fire insults at her, insisting that she was being ‘stuck up’.
‘Then one of the girls took off her underwear and was twirling it in the air, and the other girl was like, “Do you smell that? That’s what good p**** smells like. I can only imagine what yours tastes like,”‘ SheQueta shared.
She firmly said no and gave them a one star rating and reported them to Lyft, and the company responded saying the passenger was deactivated from the app.
Handsy passengers were a poignant issue for many passengers.
Most of the women in the confessional thread revealed passengers would touch their things, whisper in their ears, and rub their arms, despite protest from the drivers.
Anna, 23, shared she was driving for Uber when a drunk man in his 40s tried to whisper a secret and ended up kissing her neck instead.
‘I reported him to Uber and gave him a one-star. I got their typical “Sorry” email, but they probably didn’t kick him off the platform,’ she shared on the horrifying experience.
The prevalence of the sickening stories cause many women drivers to lie about their marital status to inquisitive men.
The wave of harassment peaks during bar and night out hours, and despite the prime income opportunity during this window, the scarring stories drive many women to quit late night drives, despite the extra cash it offers.
Lyft driver Stephanie, 33, revealed that she doesn’t drive into the am hours anymore, haunted by a invasive experience with a passenger.
Stephanie picked up a man who was on the phone with his wife, and then after his call proceeded to harass for her number.
I used to tell my friends who are single moms driving, especially at night, could be a good way to make some extra money, but now I’m rethinking that
‘After that incident, I started telling men that I’m married, even though I’m not, and now I don’t drive past midnight. It’s hard because this is my main source of income, and I miss out on a lot of money by not driving when bars are closing. But that one guy ruined it for me,’ she revealed.
The limited driving window isn’t just an block from extra income, it’s also a time period where women have to be on high alert to secure their safety.
Lyft driver Carlyn, 36, said she used to suggest the driving gig to her friends. But after a passenger touched her persistently she doesn’t know if it’s safe.
‘I’ve limited driving at night because I had a gentleman touch me while I was driving. He was drinking and kept asking for my number. He leaned forward from the back seat and kept trying to touch my shoulder. I told him to stop,’ she shared to Cosmopolitan.
But the man didn’t stop. Instead he reached over the center console and grabbed her thigh. She immediately pulled over the car and said she was ending the ride and if he didn’t leave, she’d call the police.
‘It’s unfair that men do this when they’re drinking, because you can make the most money driving at night with the bar scene and events I used to tell my friends who are single moms driving, especially at night, could be a good way to make some extra money, but now I’m rethinking that,’ she expressed.
The accounts touch on many issues that Uber and Lyft can’t prevent such as unprofessional comments and groping, and it is also difficult for the companies to assure safety or encourage women drivers to head to work during going out hours.
Both companies released statements in light of these women’s stories saying that harassment is not tolerated. Only Lyft shared that ‘such behavior can and does lead to a permanent ban from our service’ and that the company will at times work with law enforcement when necessary.