DENVER ― Last week, Uber announced it would add a panic button to its app so riders can alert 911 should an emergency happen during a ride. Judging by the Tuesday morning experience of Nancy Leong, it can’t happen soon enough.
The University of Denver law professor was headed to the airport in an Uber when she says her driver unexpectedly exited the highway and said he was going to “take [her] to a hotel.”
“I started yelling ‘let me out of the fucking car,’” she recalled in a series of tweets posted after the incident. She said he “he wouldn’t unlock the doors.”
“I started pounding on the windows until some construction workers looked over. He unlocked the doors and I jumped out but my suitcase was in the trunk. I started screaming and pounding on the trunk until he popped it open.”
Leong said the unnamed driver then got out of the car and started walking toward her, but seemed to have forgotten to set his parking brake. The car rolled into a nearby intersection, nearly hitting another car ― and forcing him to run after it. After he got back in the car, he fled the scene.
“I was about 10 seconds from putting my foot through the back passenger window.”
“I called another Uber because I didn’t know what else to do,” Leong said. “Two of the construction workers waited with me. The second Uber driver was lovely. I didn’t call the police yet because I didn’t have time. I would have missed my flight.
“I think it probably goes without saying that I am uncomfortable with this person having my home address, which is where he picked me up,” she added. “I’d like to know what you’re [Uber] going to do about this.”
Leong conceded that the driver who picked her up didn’t look exactly like the picture of the driver in the Uber app. She didn’t notice the discrepancy when she hopped in the car, however, as she didn’t get a good look at his face.
“I was about 10 seconds from putting my foot through the back passenger window,” she said, tagging Uber in the tweet: ”@Uber I really need you to understand how terrifying this was.”
Uber told HuffPost it has suspended the driver while it investigates the incident.
“What Nancy described is awful and unacceptable,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “This driver has been blocked from the app and we are investigating.”
For reasons that are unclear, Leong has since deleted her twitter account. Leong didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
This story has been updated with a statement from Uber.