One Toronto woman and her story sheds light on the darker side of Uber. Erika Szabo, 28, says that her Uber driver said that he would accept sexual favors from her instead of payment. Szabo was sexually harassed after her smartphone had died and the driver falsely told her that the payment she made would not go through.
Szabo is a YouTube personality and has been a regular customer of Uber in Toronto. She was going to a speaking engagement at the Unplugged Expo in the downtown area last Sunday. The video producer said her smartphone battery died and the driver said the payment would not be completed as a consequence.
She alleges that the male driver said she could either show him her breasts or perform oral sex on her in lieu of payment. She asked to be dropped off immediately, but the driver refused.
“It just sounded too ridiculous. And he was dead serious about it,” she told CBC News.
When the driver stopped, he made the proposal again before Szabo fled the vehicle at her apartment.
“I was so upset. I felt humiliated. I felt helpless,” she said. “It was really scary to be a victim like that.”
She has since reported the issue to Uber. The company refunded the $12, which Szabo says wasn’t really the point. The driver in question was also removed from the service permanently.
“I want to build awareness,” she said. “There are a lot of times where victims feel they’re silenced and they can’t speak out. Clearly, this guy thought that I would stay quiet.”