A Vallejo woman has filed suit against Lyft over an April 2019 ride gone wrong in which she had to climb out of the car's window to escape a creepy driver.
Gsa Gsa Ward says that she called a Lyft to take her from her home to a nearby convenience store around 1 a.m. on that April morning, because she thought it would be safer than walking by herself in the dark. But, as the Mercury News reports, the ride she hailed quickly turned scary when she says the driver drove off the route, "turning down a dark side street without explanation."
According to Ward's lawsuit, the driver, whose name in the app was only given as Rex, said nothing in response to her questions, pulled over to the side of the street, and locked the doors. She says the man only made "a gurgling ‘mm mm’ sound" in response to her tapping him on the shoulder and attempting to ask why he'd driven off-course.
"Rex then lowered his sun visor, revealing a crystal meth pipe,” the suit claims. "Ms. Ward exclaimed ‘Oh No!’ and Rex reached down for something that Ms. Ward could not see."
And, according to the suit, Ward then struggled with the door to exit the vehicle, it remained locked, and she lowered the window and climbed out of it — and "Rex attempted to close the window on her," the suit claims.
Ward says that Lyft refused to ever give her the driver's full name, and to make matters worse, the company allegedly asked her after the ride if she had climbed out of the window before the ride was over because she was trying to get away without paying.
"She also received an email from Lyft at 1:20 a.m. admonishing her not to ‘jump out of the car when it is in motion’ when she could ‘simply request that the driver stop to let you out,'" the suit reads.
It's a bizarre and troubling story, but not necessarily a surprising one given other situations women have described with Uber and Lyft drivers in recent years. In 2019, Lyft was hit with a pair of lawsuits that has become a "mass tort" suit on behalf of dozens of women with claims of sexual assault or harassment by drivers. And the suits followed on revelations in a Washington Post investigative piece that women felt their claims against drivers were not taken seriously by Lyft's customer support team, and they resulted in little or no disciplinary action against the drivers.
Lyft said in a statement about Ward's suit, "Since day one, we have designed products and policies that help protect both riders and drivers, and will continue our work to make Lyft an even safer platform for our community." The company also said it has initial and annual background checks for drivers, and has added an emergency help option within the Lyft app itself.
Ward's suit is seeking unspecified damages, and she says that Lyft failed to protect her, and engaged in negligent hiring.