Harassed during cab ride home

Location: Yellow Cab Taxi Ride in Maryland
Time: Late Night (12am-5am)

I’m an intern in the D.C. area. I was bitten by a stray cat and went to the ER at Howard U after work to get it checked up and receive any necessary shots. ERs always take a while, so by the time I was finished, it was almost 12 am so I called a cab back to Silver Spring, MD where I lived. The cab came pretty quickly (it’s the Yellow Cab company) and I got in. My driver seemed friendly and I sat in the front to make sure he knew where I was going and to talk (I’ve only ever taken cabs while in Nanjing, China where it’s expected of passengers to chat with cabbies). Our conversation was fine until we neared where I lived. At this point, he slowed the cab down to almost a crawl and asked when he would see me again. It was late and I was tired so I just said “if I ever need a cab.” And he said “no, I meant personally.” This cab driver was at least 40 years old. I said no, thank you, not interested, you’re too old. And he asked me if he could at least have a hug. This is in the middle of the night in an empty street so I thought it was better to oblige him than to potentially escalate the situation, so I briefly gave him a 4-point hug (no full contact, just my hands on your shoulders) and drew back quickly. Before drawing back I felt his breath close to my face and he laughingly admitted that he tried to kiss me. That is disgusting. Honestly, this is only the most uncomfortable instance out of a number of such situations I’ve encountered this summer. I love DC as a city, but the sketchy men I’ve been accosted by have made me come to have quite a low opinion of the more peripheral areas (aka not Union St, Capitol Hill, Foggy Bottom, etc.).

Submitted on 7/18/12 by “Cecilia”

If you experience or have experienced sexual harassment on the DC Metro system:
Please consider reporting to Metro Transit Police: www.wmata.com/harassment; 202-962-2121.

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3 Responses

  1. Caroline

    I, like many other women, had a similar experience when I first moved to DC. I too made the mistake of sitting in the front (NEVER EVER sit in the front) and after he’d dropped off the backseat passengers the cab driver pulled over in an empty parking lot. Before I had a chance to ask what was going on, he’d grabbed my arm and was sticking his hand up my skirt. Fortunately I was able to get away before the situation became much worse! I avoid cabs entirely these days. Aside from my fear of sexual assault, a lot of cab drivers demonstrate sexist, racist, and homophobic behavior, so why should we be supporting them?

    Incidentally… has anyone had a bad experience with Uber? They seem to hold their drivers more accountable for their actions, so I’m thinking it would be a safer option, but I’m still scared to try it alone.

  2. John B

    I am a professional driver (CDL, Class B with P and S endorsements) but I have never driven a cab.

    You might want to report the driver for such unprofessional behavior.

    If interested in doing so, please click on this link: http://dctaxi.dc.gov/dctaxi/cwp/view,a,3,q,615373,dctaxiNav,%7C30624%7C.asp

  3. JoDa

    I used to get hit on by cab drivers all the time. I avoided them for a while because of that (even flirting with someone who is stuck in a car they’re not in control of, alone with the person who’s flirting with them, is disconcerting, sorry if you find that offensive, but it’s true). I’ve had better luck lately. But last weekend I tried Uber for the first time since I needed to get across town and my Metro was closed (and being a weekend night, the response time for a call-out would have been ludicrous). The driver was the first one in a long time to full-on hit on me (he asked for my email and if we could get together sometime, and tried to hug me when I got out of the car, made easier by the fact that he opened the door for me, as I would expect most Uber drivers do…it *is* a sedan service). He was pretty young, and I did report it, but I’m a little wary of the service because of that. The difference, as I see it, is that that driver now has my name, address, and cell phone number. It sucks because the service was otherwise fantastic (much faster response time, much nicer car, GPS so that I didn’t need to know how to get where I was going, etc.). They did respond to my comment and tell me that they would address it with the driver, at least.