Sexual assault allegations from Seattle Uber driver

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.

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5 Comments on "Sexual assault allegations from Seattle Uber driver"

  1. Uber does not care about the safety of the Drivers, no matter what they tell the media. In this case, Mitchell will simply set up a new account with Uber, using a different credit card, and e-mail address. It is up to the media to expose the facts of how dangerous it is to drive for Uber, or Lyft, and the fact that most drivers are operating at a loss ($0.75/mile in most markets, drivers do not get the safe ride fee) I drove for both for a while to supplement my income, but realized very quickly that I was losing money. I is time for the media to stop giving rideshare companies free advertising, and to start discouraging the use of these services.

  2. Agree with Dan. If a driver gets deactivated for a small complaint a rider makes, they’re gone forever, such as was the case with me. I’m glad I’m gone, I was making no money and dealing with abuse from customers due to this one sided system. Riders cannot really be prevented from using Uber. The rating system needs to go away, Uber and Lyft need to treat drivers better and increase fares, and the media needs to stop treating them with undertones of favoritism.

  3. Great information, I had no idea how terribly the drivers for these companies are treated. What’s the best course of action for consumers to promote change within these companies?

    • Eric P Martin | January 10, 2016 at 9:36 pm |

      Josh, the best way I feel is to demand drivers have the same type of requirements that regulated taxi drivers have to go through. That includes fingerprinting and professional training.

  4. Deb Pettijohn | February 4, 2016 at 2:54 am |

    Similar to global warming, not every off-the-cuff opinion is relevant. The ease of disrupting a regulated industry may lead to many inflated opinions on the part of both “entrepreneurs” and customers. However, those in the industry know that regulation of the industry is vital for the safety of the public, and that we in the cab industry have serviced a lot of business that is not actually profitable.

    It will take time, but the public will reacquaint themselves with why and industry is regulated, and understand that anonymous, unmarked vehicles which are merely blips on a cell phone screen are not the same as visible, local vehicles that are physically locatable in your community.

    But, it will take time for this to become clear to everyone. In the meantime, a sub-economy will prevail, the sharing of smart phone identities will prevail, the default on basic commercial insurance for commercial vehicles will prevail, and in all likelihood, the cab companies will fail. Then, the whole thing will be restarted after about 2-4 years, and many good people in the cab industry will be gone by then. Why? Well, it is mainly the sick corporatization of the american economy, plus the general ineptitude of city officials who could manage to regulate the cab industry more sensibly.

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