I escaped a kidnapping attempt by an Uber driver

In an unfortunate turn of events, things that are supposed to be a matter of convenience and utility can sometimes become a hassle and lead to awkward or in some case, ‘dangerous’ conditions.

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A colleague from the workplace who is juggling a job and her studies simultaneously and belongs to the opposite sex (female) “The gender which is not supposed to go out in the 21st century and opt for more salivating options like becoming a glorified dishwasher or a reluctant diaper changer”.

I don’t mean to diminish a role of a housewife but can’t we just let women live with a little freedom?

This blog is about a cab-hailing incident which went south but it will also touch on other subjects related to sexism and misogyny so bare with me.

First and foremost, this is how the story goes… My colleague asked someone from the office to book her an Uber as her own phone was not working, she is studying in a prestigious and posh educational institute in Karachi and as is the case with many a working young individuals, they opt for evening classes (they exist for a reason) or in many cases it is common knowledge that private institutes have their own schedules and don’t work like shift hours in an office and can call the students at random time slots or late in the evening… so the car was booked, An alto from the UberMini category because we are young and have responsibilities and a budget to maintain.

The urban populace of Karachi who commute by these online cab hailing services daily now are well aware of the UberMini, it’s an okay car without the usual shashka of air-conditioning and will get you to your destination in a comparatively cheaper fare than the usual Go and Business categories (categories and names depend on the company you choose).

Car got booked, the driver showed up in a Cultus.

It was 9:30 p.m and this is a common occurrence in Pakistan, I as a consistent user of these services myself have also faced similar situations where different captains and cars have shown up than the ones we opt for but we ‘wing it’ and let it slide for the sake of convenience and to save time.

Now, this is where my colleague made a bad decision, she sat in a car with tinted and shaded windows in the night, the driver whom she describes to be a young good-looking bloke with his hair well set and nice pleasant clothes and appearance.

Many of my friends who too drive for these companies are well educated and from well to do families but are just trying to make an extra buck or unfortunately doing it for the girls. The young “good-looking” guys drive part-time in hopes of a random Bollywood sequence of events that may change their fortune or sometimes the motives are heinous and outright illegal.

The guy who could’ve been anyone started to act weird after travelling a few miles.

He had two smart phones in tow, he kept checking his social media on one and started a random video call on the other with my colleague in the backseat, extremely shady behavior.

The girl, was distraught and fearful and sometimes in this condition you tend to lose your mental faculties a little and are not able to think with a clear head, although she did think on her toes and started telling a male friend after regular intervals regarding her whereabouts. She even took some videos and pictures of the driver and whatsapped them to the friend, her live location sharing was on, the tracker was on and the GPS was also functioning, then the guy started talking in Arabic.

The guy was continuously communicating in Arabic over the phone, clear and fluent Arabic according to the girl.

He informed the guy on the other end of the phone the exact address of the girl’s house, another extremely alarming move.

The AC was on, it was chilly and the shades on the windows were up. My colleague asked the Uber driver to turn the AC off and open the windows for some fresh air, he replied that all the windows had stopped working and can’t open.

This was extremely uncalled for and now the girl was in a further state of fear as anxiety too started to creep in, with rampant kidnapping cases and street crimes coming to haunt the metropolis once again, people should be extra cautious and vigilant in such unforeseen circumstances, women must carry a stun-gun (Tazer), pepper spray or a serious licensed weapon to tackle the issues of rape and trafficking.

The driver refused to follow directions at a few junctions till the girl started to create a ruckus, she got off  at her place of employment which was comparatively closer than her drop-off.

Uber being a multi-billion dollar International company should at least have the decency to establish a helpline in a country of 200 million plus where they are running an operation for multiple years now, this is criminal negligence on their part.

It’s a long and arduous process when it comes to registering complaints against unsavory behavior or any kind of help that is required from the company’s side, it’s about time the company starts taking notice before the cases start piling up against them and their lazy policies.

 

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