ATLANTA — An Atlanta woman said she had to throw herself out of her Lyft after she thought she might be in danger Wednesday morning. Her family said the driver for the ridesharing app was taking the wrong route and didn't stop the car after she asked him to.
The rider's mother, Cynthia Wilson, and her sister, Derika Long, said she uses Lyft at least twice a day every day to go to and from work. 11Alive is not naming the 32-year-old rider for safety reasons.
"Lyft was a service for her for years," Long said. "This is something she uses every day. It's essential for her. She got comfortable because she never had a problem."
Wilson said that what was supposed to be a 15 minute drive to work for her daughter, turned into a 30 minute argument with the driver.
"I was kind of [mad] at myself because I didn't answer the phone and she called me three times and I wasn't there at a time of need," Wilson said. "I'm trying to keep myself from crying."
They both said that after the rider questioned the driver on the direction he was driving, he got angry and called her expletives.
"He wouldn't let her out of the car," Long said. "He verbally started to assault her by calling her out of her name."
That's when the rider's family said two Lyft employees texted asking if she felt safe. The rider replied "no" and got a phone call.
"They did notice that the car had stopped for a long time and she was going in the wrong direction," Wilson said. "I praise him for being aware. That made me feel like when I'm riding Lyft early in the morning that somebody is really watching me."
Lyft said that is one of their "Smart Trip Check-In" feature. A spokesperson sent us the following information.
"In some cases, if we notice a ride has stopped too soon or for an unusual amount of time, drivers and riders will hear from Lyft. We’ll ask if they need support, and if necessary, we’ll give the option to request emergency assistance."
The company also has its Emergency Help feature, which is supported by ADT.
"If a rider or driver ever feels uncomfortable or unsafe, they are able to immediately connect with an ADT security professional. Riders are able to choose whether they want ADT to text them, call them, or silently alert 911 on their behalf (to prevent distracted driving, drivers only have the option to receive a call from ADT). If requested, ADT will alert authorities so they can arrive at the user’s location, equipped with ride details like the vehicle’s make and model, license plate number, and the intended drop-off location."
When the rider jumped out, she tried taking a photo of the vehicle. Her family said the driver then tried to run her over.
"She started yelling so that she could cause a scene for help," Long said. "She was like 'you're going to hit me with the car now?' Then he drove off."
When they reached out to Lyft, the ridesharing company replied, in part, that her account is disabled because of the allegations made. Then, according to screenshots provided to 11Alive, they asked them to take the Facebook post down.
A Lyft spokesperson sent us the following statement:
"Safety is fundamental to Lyft, and the behavior described is concerning. We have reached out to the rider to offer our support and have placed the driver's account on hold while we look into the matter."
"She is very afraid," Wilson said. "When Lyft locked her out of her account, that hurt her. That made her feel like she's the victim."
The company said that while it investigates what happened, it's disabled the woman and driver's accounts.
Click here for more features the company has on-hand to make sure it is safe for everyone riding with them.
The woman's family is also offering some advice.
"Just be mindful of your surroundings because that situation could've been really bad," Long said. "He could've had a child lock on and she could've possibly not been able to jump out of that car."