If you live in a big city, you’re already used to taking ride shares all over the place.
Ever since Lyft and Uber were founded, they’ve been mainstays of modern city living. Still, not every experience with these apps turns out the same way.
For the most part, these rides with a stranger make our lives easier and get us to where we need to go. Still, the experiences that men and women sometimes have on these rides can have very different stakes attached to them.
At least, that was the case in one story that’s been gaining traction online.
The driver in question was Brandon Gale from Rock Island, Illinois.
For Gale, it was a night like any other—he was on the clock and taking whatever rides were coming up on the app. After driving around for a while, he got another ride that had an unusual message attached to it.
Although Uber drivers are usually just expected to show up wherever they’re requested, this one was from a woman who asked that he pretend to be her boyfriend.
Needless to say, Gale was a little bit confused.
To clarify the situation, Gale asked the woman exactly what she meant by her request.
Before long, it became clear that it was for her own personal safety—because somebody was harassing her. Gale even wrote a long Facebook post about the encounter that has since gone viral:
“Last night, while driving for Uber, I got a call to pick up a woman from over by the fair. About 30 seconds after accepting the ride, the rider sent me a message via the app. When you get here, can you pretend to be my boyfriend?”
I didn’t know to what capacity she meant, so I asked, “What do you mean?”. She then said, “I just need you to act like you know me, and that you’re not my Uber driver.
Before I got to the pickup, I took my Uber and Lyft stickers out of my window. Although I didn’t feel comfortable removing my wedding ring, I made a mental note to keep it out of eyesight. When I got there, I had my window rolled down. A man and a woman were in the front yard, talking. The woman was my fare and she set the scene immediately. She looked over and yelled, “Hi, Babe! I’ll be right there!” I didn’t want to leave her hanging, so I shouted back, “Awesome, because I’m starving!” I waved at the guy. He half-assedly waved back. The ruse was complete. Thanks to me. The Mayor of Yes-And City.”
As it turns out, the man had been following her to the car and trying to go home with her before Gale had intervened.
Though the man had seemed irritated and disappointed, the woman was safe. Once she was in the car, she explained that the man had continually tried to make passes at her and wouldn’t accept “no” for an answer. He followed her away from the fair and even tried to escort her home.
Fortunately, Gale’s willingness to help saved what could’ve quickly become a bad situation—and his actions have been covered by all kinds of news outlets as a result. Above all, Gale says that the whole experience should be a lesson to anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation:
“This should never have had to happen. Men, learn to accept the word “no” as a response. Learn to take responsibility for your actions. Our sons are watching you and they’re learning how to treat the women in their lives by example. Lead by a better one.
Ladies, if you have the Uber or Lyft app, and you need an exit strategy, use the messaging system within the app. You can make special requests that could possibly save your life.”
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