As a woman I am always conscious of my safety. It is one of the reasons after a certain time in the evening if I have to go home I usually prefer to take a cab. Nowadays usually that is Uber. I tend to prefer Uber because I can see where the driver is, it is usually cheaper and also because I have any issues I can report them to Uber. I trust Uber because naturally I assume based on a conversation we had last year with Uber that all their drivers are vetted and that they don’t have a criminal record or anything.
So when one of my friends this morning sends me a link to this Facebook update by Njeri Ngunjiri. She was talking about how she took a trip with an uber driver who from the beginning was acting weird. At some point he was so mad he wanted to drop her at “Makaburi” which is a place in upper hill which is known as a hijacking hotspot and where women have been raped. She told him she will not pay him until he drops her home. At some point when they reach where she lives he insists on her telling him where she lives. She asked him to just drop her at a point where she knows she is safe and he hits her on her arm with his fist. He then keeps driving for like 5 minutes, starts calling her a prostitute among other names. Njeri is terrified at this point; she is scared for her life.
She says “Then he drives off saying that I have said I won’t pay him and I’m thinking in my head this guy is freaking nuts. I’m scared out of my mind at this point. Freaking out actually!!!! He’s calling me all manner insults including prostitute at this time.”
Eventually he tells her to get out of the car. She is scared. He drives off then he stops and waits. She runs to an apartment block nearby and bangs on the gate, hoping that the dogs in that place will scare him off. Luckily while she is there a guy on a motorbike from McFrys comes there and she tells him her story. At this point the Uber driver is doing a u-turn. The guy who must see how Njeri is frightened and with good reason, tells her to get on the bike. He rides and hides on the other side of the apartment block until the Uber Driver drives away. She then goes to Parklands police station to give her statement.
Reading her story I felt like I was in a thriller movie. I could feel her fear. This driver was being insane and he had hit her. She didn’t know what would be next because he kept driving. At this point she has no idea what the guy is going to do to her. Her heart is in her throat; she is probably praying to God and asking him to protect her. She is wondering what will this guy do and her adrenaline is pumping. When he lets her out she is saying Thank you Prayers and just thinking how she needs to get to the house as soon as possible. Then he stops and waits. She is afraid again and she tries to get assistance. I was saying that for the McFrys guy to tell her that they should hide he must also have realized that the Uber guy was a real threat. You can read Njeri Ngunjiri’s story here.
We will never know what the guy would have done to her when he came back. But we can imagine the possibilities especially because he had already hit her. He was acting crazy and he could have hurt her again.
As a woman who uses Uber I demand that Uber takes action against this guy. First he needs to be fired. Second he needs to report to the police station to answer for the assault of Njeri.
Uber I think also needs to re-evaluate their drivers. This is the second incident involving a woman that I have heard about. There are probably others who haven’t talked about it. Uber needs to deal with this issue immediately. They had said that they would hire more women drivers and this has not yet happened. So far I have only seen two.
For now I think I might boycott Uber in solidarity with Njeri. If one woman is unsafe in an Uber it means that all women are unsafe in Ubers. Until Uber can assure us that such an incident will not be repeated. In the meantime if you are a lady who use Uber use it with caution.