‘Racist’ Uber driver ditches cou­ple

‘He asked me if my fi­ancée was still a Mus­lim’

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - NI­COLA DANIELS

A FAIR­WAYS cou­ple were left en­raged af­ter be­ing told by their Uber driver that it was wrong for a Mus­lim woman to be in a re­la­tion­ship with a Chris­tian man.

The in­ci­dent hap­pened around 5pm on Fri­day when Christo­pher Parker was left alone with the driver while his fi­ancée – whose name is known to The Star but is be­ing with­held to pro­tect her pri­vacy – went into a shop on Ros­mead Av­enue, Clare­mont.

“He in­ter­ro­gated me and asked if my fi­ancée was still a Mus­lim,” said Parker. He said he told the driver: “It is none of your busi­ness, it is per­sonal in­for­ma­tion.

“He then told me that it is not on for me to be in a re­la­tion­ship with her.

“I take it be­cause he saw I had a vis­i­ble cru­ci­fix tat­too on my arm that he gath­ered I was Chris­tian, and my fi­ancée, who booked the ser­vice, has a Mus­lim name,” Parker said.

The al­ter­ca­tion con­tin­ued and he ex­plained to the driver that his part­ner’s mother was a Chris­tian who mar­ried a Mus­lim man.

He said: “My grand­fa­ther is also a Mus­lim. My fi­ancée grew up with par­ents from dif­fer­ent re­li­gions and she never re­ally em­braced Is­lam, but why should that even mat­ter?

“He was com­pletely in­ap­pro­pri­ate.

“She has faced this kind of dis­crim­i­na­tion in many ar­eas of her life, in­clud­ing her work­place, and it is not right. And with all the racial ha­tred in the coun­try, he should be taken to task.”

Parker said he’d had a “bad feel­ing” about the driver on en­ter­ing the ve­hi­cle.

“I told her to go into the shop be­cause I did not want to leave her alone with the driver,” he said.

Af­ter the sit­u­a­tion had es­ca­lated and his fi­ancée re­turned, the Uber driver put them out of the car and left them on Ros­mead Av­enue.

“Luck­ily I have a friend who lives close by, imag­ine if we were some­where else. What about our safety? It is com­plete non­sense,” said Parker.

The cou­ple took their ex­pe­ri­ence to so­cial me­dia and re­ceived 119 shares and 64 com­ments.

Many peo­ple de­scribed their anger at the in­ci­dent.

Through the posts on Twit­ter and Face­book, Uber also got in touch and said they would in­ves­ti­gate the mat­ter.

Parker said he did not blame Uber. “I do not blame them be­cause they can­not mon­i­tor ev­ery driver, ev­ery time. But I ex­pect them to take ac­tion, be­cause some­thing must be done.

“I would not like this to hap­pen to any­one else. “It is rub­bish,” he said. Parker said his de­sired out­come would be a pub­lic apol­ogy.

He said if Uber did not do any­thing, he was con­sid­er­ing lodg­ing a com­plaint with the South African Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion.

Parker was also in pos­ses­sion of a live record­ing which de­tailed the in­ci­dent.

Uber said they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mat­ter.

“We are deeply com­mit­ted to the safety of all who use the Uber app,” a spokesper­son said.

“Im­me­di­ately upon hear­ing of this, Uber took the nec­es­sary steps to in­ves­ti­gate the al­le­ga­tion and is in con­tact with both the rid­ers and the driver-part­ner.

“Uber has an in­ci­dent re­sponse team who are trained to deal with any is­sues, and they work with the rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers in or­der to re­solve any in­ci­dent with a mat­ter of ur­gency.”

The spokesper­son said that driv­ers were im­me­di­ately pre­vented from ac­cess­ing the app if there is an al­le­ga­tion of wrong­do­ing, un­til an in­ves­ti­ga­tion could be con­cluded.

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