Uber confirmed Thursday it fired a driver who refused to drop a young woman off at her destination when he found out she was on her way to get an abortion. The company said he violated safety rules.
“Our Community Guidelines clearly lay out safety as a top priority and any actions that threaten the safety of drivers and rider will be investigated,” a spokeswoman for the company told The Daily Caller. “Dropping someone off in the middle of nowhere threatens someone’s safety.”
The woman’s story came to light after she recounted what happened on Reddit. She said the driver questioned her about her destination, and then abruptly pulled over during the trip and “left her on the side of the road” after he concluded it was an abortion clinic.
“Are we going to an abortion clinic?” he asked, according to her post. And when she didn’t reply, he went on to say his wife is five months pregnant and that the procedure is awful. “There is so much they don’t tell you. You’re going to regret this decision for the rest of your life.” He then told her she is making a mistake. (RELATED: Uber Launches Campus Safety Initiative After SC Student’s Death And LA Sexual Assaults)
“It took all of my strength not to start crying but I managed to keep it together by looking out the window and avoiding his gaze,” she wrote. “After we were about halfway to the destination, he suddenly pulls over with no warning. There was a gas station and a closed antiques store, and around us was farmland and forest. He said ‘I’m sorry, but I can’t take you the rest of the way. I can take you back to [my city], but you won’t be able to find another Uber out here.'”
The woman said she hailed a cab, and that the driver hung around for about 15 minutes but eventually drove away after she insisted she would be fine and told him to go back. She was then picked up by a cab and taken to the clinic, and she said she gave a detailed account of what happened in a phone call with an Uber representative the next day.
“Even thinking about this experience brings tears to my eyes,” she said in the post. “I can’t believe someone would be this cruel. An abortion is already traumatic enough, and not at all a decision I take lightly.”
In addition to getting the driver fired from Uber, the woman said she is pursuing legal action. (RELATED: Uber Wants To Send You To The Hospital)
Uber has a policy that a driver cannot discriminate against a rider because of the destination. “[C]ancelling trips or using features in the Uber app to avoid receiving trip requests solely for the purpose of avoiding a particular neighborhood due to the characteristics of the people or businesses that are located there violates these guidelines and may cause you to lose access to your account,” the guidelines state. But a spokeswoman for the company told the Caller he was banned from the service for safety reasons.
The woman later updated her post to address pushback from Reddit users who criticized her decisions.
“For all the people who say I deserved this kind of treatment, I have nothing to say to you,” she wrote. “I come from a politically conservative family, so I understand being pro life and disagreeing with my decision to terminate my pregnancy. However, the driver was aware of my decision to get an abortion within 10-15 minutes of picking me up from all his probing questions.”