“Today my Uber driver thought it perfectly normal to masturbate while dropping me to the airport”.
That is how a woman began a Facebook post recounting her experience during an Uber cab ride in Hyderabad. In the post, published today afternoon, the woman recalled the fear she was ravaged by and the helplessness she felt as the driver “blankly looked at (her), without an ounce of guilt on his face” after the incident.
Following the incident, the driver was barred from accessing the Uber app with a spokesperson for the cab company telling IndiaToday.in that such behaviour has “no place” on their service (Uber India’s full statement is at the end of this report).
Once the cab, with the woman inside it, reached Hyderabad’s Outer Ring Road, the driver “slowed the car to about a 50 kmph” and “kept glancing back in the rearview mirror”, the woman said in her post, which is accompanied by a screenshot showing the driver’s 4.54-rated, two-month-old Uber profile.
After about five minutes, the woman realised what was happening – the driver had begun masturbating in the car. He continued “unfazed” even after the woman protested, shouted and asked him to bring the vehicle to a halt.
“After much screaming, he reluctantly stopped the car, and continued standing on the road until I took a picture of him and threatened to go to the cops,” the woman wrote on Facebook.
Once out of the cab, the woman booked another cab and waited by the roadside, shaken by the traumatic experience that she had been through.
“I was scared- as an alone woman in a still-unfamiliar city. Scared of what else he may do since I’d threatened him,” she wrote. “Scared that he may return while I waited on the road for another cab. Scared at how utterly powerless I felt when he blankly looked at me, without an ounce of guilt on his face.”
The incident took place just days after the #metoo hashtag, which saw women share stories of sexual abuse, took the world by storm. The hashtag finds a mention in the Facebook post regarding the Uber incident. “Today, I shudder to think how many of these #metoo statuses were because of the same vile men who repeated their actions – only because we were too scared to speak up,” she says.
The woman ended her post vowing to do all that she could to ensure that action is taken “against this worthless excuse of a man.” She said she would take the matter up with police and that she would not rest until Uber “takes responsibility for their non-existent driver verification and complete disregard for their passengers safety.”
A spokesperson for Uber India, which has had to deal with similar allegations in the past, responded to a request for comment with the following statement: “What’s been described has no place on our app. Our community guidelines clearly reject such inappropriate behaviour. The driver partner’s access to the Uber app has been barred.”