A 25-year-old New York City woman with lymphoma says that a driver from the smartphone app-based car service Uber blasted her with harassing messages and told her she deserves her illness, all because she canceled her ride request.
According to the New York Daily News, Alexandra Craigle — a lymphoma patient since 2012 — canceled a ride request one minute after making it, well within the five minute grace period allotted by the company for cancelations.
Nonetheless, the Uber driver who received the request went on a tirade, calling Craigle less than human and deriding her lack of “character.”
Craigle was leaving Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan last week when the incident took place. She signaled for an Uber car on her cell phone, then canceled it after a minute to run back inside. When she came back outside, she caught a cab.
Then her phone alerted her that she had received a text message.
“You arenot [sic] human,” it said.
“Just left cancer treatment,” Craigle responded, “if that helps clears that up. Had to go back to get my scarf to cover my bald head. Thanks though for the great customer service.”
The driver — who the company says it has since fired — went on a tirade, calling Craigle repeatedly and sending her text after angry text.
“Yeah right I think k you deserve what happened to you with such a caracter [sic],” wrote the driver. “You hang up the phone and cancel the trip…you should go see a head doctor too.”
This week it came to light that Uber executive Emil Michael suggested that the company lash out at journalists it sees as hostile, outlining a plan to spend “a million dollars” to hire opposition researchers to battle with the press.
These researchers, Michael reportedly said, would dig into “your personal lives, your families” to find ammunition to discredit and humiliate its critics, like Pando founder Sarah Lacy or Guardian U.S. assistant editor Erin McCann.
This has prompted a heavy backlash against Uber, which already had a reputation for heavy-handed tactics against the press. Executives also reportedly have analyzed user data to determine who is using the car service for sexual liaisons.
Blogger Tom Sullivan at Hullabaloo wrote that the complaints aren’t only coming from clients. Drivers for Uber describe the company as “an exploiting pimp.”
A Los Angeles Uber driver named Arman told Jacobin magazine, “Uber takes 20 percent of my earnings, and they treat me like shit — they cut prices whenever they want. They can deactivate me whenever they feel like it, and if I complain, they tell me to fuck off.”