Kiro 7 news in Seattle reported Monday that Maggie Young, an Uber driver, on November 27th, 2015 claimed to have been sexually assaulted by 33 year old Kevin Mitchell.
Young said that she picked up Mitchell at a local Seattle bar after responding to an Uber request for pickup. According to Young, Mitchell’s friends placed what appeared to her as an intoxicated Young in the backseat her car and closed the door.
After only 5 minutes after getting on the highway in route to Mitchell’s destination, Maggie claims that her customer grabbed her breasts and attempted to kiss her neck and cheek.
Quick thinking Young, after pleading with Kevin Mitchell to stop his unwanted advances she drives off the Interstate highway into a well lit Fred Meyer parking lot, locked her intoxicated passenger that was now passed out in her car, and called local police.
The Reality of Driving for the Public
Maggie, a Navy veteran and writer, like many rideshare drivers, supplements her income driving for Uber. In her blog post, Young gives a detailed account of this encounter and experience of being a female Uber driver. In her interview, Young hopes that rideshare companies will do more to protect drivers. Unfortunately, I feel that Young’s wish is no more than just that, a wish.
As a public chauffeur for Chicago for the last 5 years, and now a rideshare driver myself, I’ve experienced a slew intoxicated drivers on weekend nights. I once chased an intoxicated passenger into an alley that bailed out of my cab for a $20.00 fare. After calling 911, the dispatcher told me that she couldn’t send the police because I didn’t know the location of the alley I had cornered my passenger in.
As an activist, I have heard cries of a population of mainly immigrants, which I found myself being now apart of, plead for justice and fairness within the taxi industry. As a documentary filmmaker, I tried to bring awareness to the injustice I witnessed through my short film, Cab Slaves. Five years later, I’ve seen very little positive changes or sympathy given to the public driver who serves the community with the service of transportation.
Maggie Young’s experience is a hapless one. And, sadly I must say, I feel her experience will be just one of thousands of others that will be reported in the future as new drivers enter into this new sharing economy to earn a living or supplement their income.