Ride-hailing apps have blown up over the last half a decade, ballooning into every corner of the Earth. Uber and Lyft have grown into some of the biggest companies all around the world, with millions, if not billions, of users every year. But they have not been without controversy, as with most things.
There have been doubts over the legal status of these companies in many cities around the world. And what’s worse, there have been countless stories of horrible incidents that have occurred during these rides. Kidnappings, robberies, and harassment just to name a few.
In this article, we’ll be talking about the most bizarre Uber horror stories.
1. Uber Shooter
The very first in our list of Uber horror stories takes place in the early hours of the morning of the 1st of June, 2018, when a fight broke out between an Uber driver and his passenger. Things got out of hand pretty quick, and much too soon a gun was fired.
Michael Hancock, the Uber driver, had shot and killed his passenger, Hyun Kim, with a semi-automatic rifle at 2:47 am.
Before the police arrived, one passerby walked up to Hancock and asked him what had happened. Hancock explained that he had fired his rifle in self-defense, as Kim began to attack him.
It remains unclear whether or not the shots were fired as the vehicle was in motion or when it was stationary. Hancock is set to appear in court, but this is not even his first run-in with the law, having had other convictions in his past.
According to Uber policy, Hancock should not even have been allowed to have any sort of firearm on board the vehicle. This tragic event has added even more fuel to the allegations against Uber, saying the app does little for the safety of its customers.
2. Driver Strangles Female Passenger
Bridgett Todd, an African American writer, activist and lecturer at Howard University, claims she was choked and strangled in what she describes as a racially motivated attack. The Uber driver, whom Bridgett revealed as called David E. in her many tweets detailing the attack, was apparently upset when Bridgett began kissing her partner – who was white.
She said the driver ‘appeared to be of ‘African descent’ and ‘definitely became enraged when we started kissing’. She absolutely believes that the attack was racially motivated.
Uber, on the other hand, are telling a different story. In a press release they put out, they say that the passenger, Bridgett, was the one who provoked the attack. The police approached the scene, but neither party pressed charges and the matter was dropped.
No one can be sure of the absolute truth, but it is not a good look for Uber. Regardless, it has still earned a place in our list of Uber horror stories.
3. Unruly Passenger
Not all Uber horror stories are the fault of depraved, criminal drivers – sometimes it’s the passengers who are at fault. Such is the case when 32-year-old Ben Golden got into his Uber in Costa Mesa, California back in October 2015.
Ben Golden was clearly inebriated, and couldn’t give Edward Caban, the Uber driver involved in this whole ordeal, clear instructions on how to take him back home. He was also being aggressive towards Caban. Finally, Caban had enough and ordered the drunk passenger to get out of his car.
Golden was not pleased – he assaulted Caban, punching him, pulling his hair and slamming his face into a window. The terrified Caban managed to escape the grasp of Golden, and pepper sprayed him.
Eventually, the cops were called. Luckily for Caban, he managed to capture the entire series of events on his dashcam, and showed it to the cops.
Golden was subsequently fired from his job as a local Taco Bell manager, and banned from ever using Uber’s services again.
Caban also quit using the ride-hailing application, clearly shaken from the altercation that took place. His reasoning was that he had had too many run-ins with obnoxious and dangerous people like Ben Golden.
4) Driver Rapes his Passenger
This shocking Uber horror story comes from D.C., where a 20-year-old woman ordered an Uber after a cold December night out at a bar with some friends. On her way back home, she said that the driver kept making advances towards her, which she rejected and ignored.
But upon exiting the car, the woman says that the driver got out as well. He then grabbed her from behind, pushed her to the ground and proceeded to rape her.
After D.C police began to investigate these claims, they put out a news release that the driver had been charged with first-degree sexual abuse. Uber, unsurprisingly, severed ties with the driver as soon as the allegations came out.
5) Driver Goes On Shooting Spree Between Passengers
Perhaps one of the most shocking passenger stories of all time – In February 2016, Jason Dalton, a driver who works with Uber in Michigan, was charged with six accounts of murder, after going on a shooting spree.
Dalton was accused of driving from one target to another, shooting his victims at random and picking up and dropping off passengers in between shootings.
The victims seemed to have no clear connection between them. He shot a woman in a parking lot, and then shot and killed a father and his son standing outside a car dealership. Dalton also shot and killed four more people, injuring one more, in a parking lot outside a restaurant.
Shockingly, he proceeded to give normal rides to Uber passengers in between shootings. He seemed perfectly normal to the unknowing passengers, and did not threaten to harm them in any way.
Dalton was arrested in downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan. His motives remain unclear to this day.
6) Uber Driver Attacks Pregnant Woman
On the 30th of January, 2017, a 22-year-old Attiya Abdul Khalik from Ohio was visiting her sister in Atlanta. She got into an Uber with a friend near College Park. The Uber driver, 46-year-old Myra Julie Graham, parked her car a few doors down the location, leaving Attiya confused.
When she got into the car, she asked Graham about it. Graham responded in a harsh tone. When Attiya, who was 2 months pregnant at the time of the incident, began asking Graham more questions, Graham responded by saying that she and her friend could just get out of the car if she didn’t want the ride. And Attiya was going to do exactly that, but Graham attacked her just as she was reaching for the door.
Graham allegedly grabbed her passenger’s hair, spun her around and began punching her. A shocked Attiya began screaming, trying to protect her unborn baby. Her friend did so as well, and attempted to stop the brawl and wanted to call the police to come to their aid, but Graham threatened that she would run them over.
Attiya eventually made it to the hospital, where she bled for days. Doctors were worried that she might miscarry her unborn child. Graham, on the other hand, was released by Uber and arrested on aggravated assault. A closer look at her criminal history reveals that she was previously arrested for battery.
7) Five Star Attacker
One of Uber’s famous features is the Uber rating, which allows passengers to rate the performance of their drivers. The higher the rating, the better for the driver. But one Uber driver in Los Angeles took things a bit too far when he literally locked a female passenger, who was out with some friends, inside his car and said he’d only release her if she gave him a 5-star rating.
The driver reached over and tried to give himself a 5-star rating on his passenger’s phone, much to the shock of his passenger. Finally, after much confusion and panic, she held up the screen to his face and he gave himself the 5 stars he desperately craved.
The woman, who wrote an anonymous letter to the LAist, said she was scared for her safety, and also commented that she would hesitate to use Uber’s services again in the future.
Should Uber be responsible?
There are plenty of Uber horror stories to go around, which does not really bode well for the company and similar companies like it. However, Uber does have routine check-ups, strict policies and is working on enhancing them all the time. Obviously, there are some things that are simply beyond their control, and which they could do nothing about.
While this list primarily focuses on Uber horror stories concerning drivers, there are thousands of Uber horror stories where the tables are turned and the passengers are at fault. Although, perhaps less extreme than the stories we shared above. Take a look here where Uber drivers recount some of their wildest rides.