A mistake by an Alaska Airlines gate agent and a very angry Uber driver led to a 911 call and a story fit for local news — not to mention a fresh bit of bad PR for Uber.
San Francisco resident Brian Resler says that he and his wife were trapped in an Uber on December 7 after returning from Southern California. The couple had flown to Disneyland for a weekend getaway, but some complications with their initial flight out from SFO to John Wayne Airport led to the airline offering to buy them an Uber to get back to their car.
As ABC 7 reports, Resler's flight out of the Bay Area got diverted to Oakland airport, so he and his wife left their car there while going to Disneyland. Their flight back, originally part of a round trip, took them back to SFO, so Alaska Airlines offered them a car back to Oakland on their return. The gate agent handling the situation, however, ordered a car to a generic location in Oakland, instead of entering "Oakland International Airport." So while the Uber driver took them near the airport, he then realized the destination was incorrect, and angrily demanded that Resler enter a new destination. Only they couldn't fix the situation because the car had been called by the gate agent.
"We literally got to the sign that says 'Welcome to Oakland International,'" Resler tells KTVU. "That's when the driver pulled up the app and realized the destination didn't match what we had told him... [Then] He told us we lied to him, that we tried to steal from him. He basically stopped the car in the middle of the road."
The driver, in anger, then got back on 880 headed back toward downtown Oakland. As Resler tells ABC 7, "We started getting a little more panicked. We're begging and pleading him to just stop, just let us off anywhere. We'll call another car, we'll figure out a way there. We offered to give him cash to let us out of the car and he just continued to yell at us and so finally I called 911." Resler told KTVU they offered the driver $20 just to let them out, but he refused.
The driver eventually got off the freeway and pulled over near Oakland's City Hall, at 14th and Broadway. Police responded to the scene after Resler's 911 call. He and his wife then called a Lyft to Oakland Airport. Resler says he took the story to the media following a lack of response from either Uber or Alaska.
Uber issued a statement saying that the driver's access to the app had been removed, and "We stand ready to support law enforcement with their investigation."