An Uber driver acting overly familiar with his female passenger last week is now in hot water after the victim’s father—a ranking government official—got wind of the incident.
According to Department of Environment and Natural Resources assistant secretary Rommel Abesamis, the driver clearly harassed his daughter sexually.
Abesamis said the driver did things like telling his daughter that he had a crush on her, she should make a lot of babies, and asking her out on a movie date despite the victim showing no interest.
The driver for his part admitted to the complaint but reasoned out that he was only trying to befriend the victim so that he could apply as their family driver.
“Gusto ko lang maging close sa kanya kasi gusto ko mag-apply,” he told GMA News.
He also apologized but for the wrong reasons.
“I have to apologize, not because umaamin ako sa nagawa kong mali. Dahil una, dignitary po pala yung papa, ng pasahero ko,” he said.
Under Uber's policy, these kinds of action fall under the inappropriate behavior of their terms and policies.
Here’s an excerpt from their guidelines:
“Commenting on appearance, asking overly personal questions and making unwanted physical contact are all considered inappropriate behaviors. Anyone who solicits or engages in sexual conduct while using the Uber platform may lose future access to Uber. We encourage you to be mindful of other users’ privacy and personal space. Violence of any kind will not be tolerated.”
“You are strictly forbidden from committing any form of sexual offence, including making lewd comments/ texts, sexual harassment, unwanted physical contact, unlawful restraint, drugging, molestation and rape. These are criminal offences under the law and a serious violation of the Company’s safety policy. Offenders will be prosecuted against the law.”
Hopefully, this whole incident becomes a lesson to all passengers that booking premium transport services like Uber and Grab does not guarantee that your driver will be prim and proper.
Here are a few tips for passengers to avoid these kinds of situations:
1) Call someone after hopping inside
Call a loved one immediately after getting inside the vehicle and speak loud enough to be heard by the driver while telling that person important details like the car plate and the car model.
This is the best deterrent to let your driver know indirectly that someone else is there to rush to your side in case he does something funny.
If the person isn’t picking up or for some reason you’re unable to connect then better fake the conversation then send the details via sms message.
2) Laugh it off
If the driver still starts verbally unwanted advances towards you then be evasive by either answering questions with laughter or just simply not giving specifics.
Hopefully he gets the hint that you don’t want to divulge your personal info. But if the driver still keeps badgering you then it’s time for Step 3.
3) Politely tell the driver off
Something along the lines of “I appreciate your friendliness but I’m really tired right now and would just like to rest please.” would be a great thing to say while still being courteous to shut the driver down.
Do remember though that being the passenger doesn’t make you superior to your driver in any way. It just so happened you are paying for the service while the driver is providing the service so don’t be rude and don’t belittle them.
As for you drivers, you have to understand that not all your passengers are chummy. Some don’t want to talk to you at all and just want the ride with you to be over as soon as possible so learn to figure out your passengers and respect their preferences and privacy.