ATLANTA — An Atlanta couple is outraged after they said they were left on the side of Interstate 75 North at 3 a.m. after getting in an argument with an Uber driver.
It started with a conversation about their COVID-19 vaccination status.
About seven minutes into their trip, the couple says the Uber driver told them he just got his booster shot for COVID-19 and asked them if they were vaccinated.
According to the couple, they told him they are not vaccinated and the driver got angry, eventually forcing them to get out of his car on the side of the highway.
Haley, an Atlanta resident, said she and her partner use the rideshare service a couple times a week.
"All the time for work, to, and from the airport. All the time," she said.
Haley said she knows they have a face mask policy for everyone who gets inside a car whether they are vaccinated or not.
"I said, 'Hey sir, we don't have masks, is that ok?' And he's like, 'Come on, come on in,'" she said.
She and her partner were about halfway to Haley's home when she says the ride got uncomfortable.
"He started asking if we were vaccinated, and I got scared the way he was asking the questions," she said.
She says her partner told the driver they were not vaccinated, but they didn't think it would be a problem.
"Uber doesn't have a vaccination policy, it has a mask policy," she said.
The driver started using an iPad while driving to look up information about the COVID vaccine, according to Haley.
"I was scared. He was driving fast, on his iPad Googling, trying to prove a point," she said.
Then she said the driver told them they had to get out.
"He pulled over on 75 north, a four or five lane highway, the emergency lane, and told us to get the F out. Started cursing. And of course we get out, we were scared," she said.
Haley says it was raining that night and they were a mile and a half away from the Northside Drive exit ramp. She managed to take a quick video as they driver sped away.
"It could have went a lot worse if we got hit, a car slid in to us, if we got picked up, kidnapped. There's a lot of things that could have happened," she said.
In a statement, Uber told 11Alive, "The rider’s experience is very concerning. In accordance with our Community Guidelines, we expect all users to treat each other with respect. We’ve been in touch with her and will continue to look into this report."
11Alive was not able to locate the Uber driver and the company has not shared the results of their investigation in the incident, but Haley said the couple's case should serve as a warning to anyone else using the service.
"He could have at least, at least as a human, waited until the exit ramp and dropped us off at a gas station, somewhere safe or well lit. He didn't even do that," she said.
Uber has increased their safety measures over the past few years, including a panic button that immediately connects riders to 911 via call or text.
Uber has a two-way feedback system where riders and drivers can rate each other following a trip and share feedback about the trip. The rideshare company's incident response team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to respond to incidents globally. Riders can report any incident or accident via the app, which the company said the safety team reviews "constantly" and investigates.
Haley said she does not think that would have helped in this situation and said it will be a while before she rides with Uber again.