Ride share apps like Lyft and Uber have changed the way people get around. Despite the convenience of cash less exchanges and more availability, the service is still not without flaws. Although drivers are screened and measures are put into place to protect their riders, incidents still occur where either party falls victim to someone with different intentions than a quick ride to a destination.
Stories of unsafe rides pop up everyday. Earlier this month an Uber driver was on the receiving end of some disgruntled riders. The riders entered the vehicle with no masks. When asked to put their masks on, they got upset with the driver and began attacking him. In the video you can see the maskless woman lunge forward and snatch the drivers phone forcefully.
Drivers are in the wrong sometimes as well. A Boston Uber driver was accused of trying to kidnap a woman this week. Kamal Essalak, 47, is accused of using the child safety lock feature to keep her in the vehicle.
Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Margaret Hegarty told the court the passenger reportedly felt unsafe and that “something was off” about her driver. Essalak is alleged to have looked the passenger up and down when she entered his 2017 Toyota Corolla. Essalak said the ride, which should have only lasted a few minutes, was going to be “an hour long ride”.
When the passenger asked to be let out of the car, Essalak responded “It’s just a joke. Come on, we are going to have fun.”
When she realized the door had been locked she began pounding on the window. It was at that time she states that Essalak climbed into the backseat with her. She was able to climb into the front seat and escape to her home where she called police.
Essalak’s defense attorney Thomas J. Chirokas told the court that his client is a native of Morocco and that the whole incident is a misunderstanding and result of a language barrier between the driver and passenger. In court, Chirokas said the allegations were off and that “objectively some of this does not make sense.”
According to the Boston Globe Essalak has operated as an Uber driver for four and a half years totaling 7,800 rides and had a driver’s rating of 4.97 stars out of 5 prior to the incident, the attorney said.
Uber released a statement saying: “What’s been reported is horrifying and something no one should have to go through. As soon as we became aware, we immediately removed this driver’s access to Uber.”