It Happened To Me: I Was Held Hostage In An Uber Pool

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By guest blogger Mandi Atkins

I didn’t see it coming. Like everyone else, I trusted Uber and had used it multiple times to get literally everywhere. I had yet to use the app’s new money-saving Pool function that would allow me to share my ride with complete strangers for a lower price. As I left Williamsburg to head into Midtown, I figured–what’s the harm?

That seemingly innocent question almost cost me my life. Because there was harm. Like, a lot of harm.

The driver named Manolo–whose ethnicity I am still unclear about–picked me up outside my friend’s undefined-sex-partner’s bodega on Bedford and drove across the Williamsburg Bridge with only me as the passenger. When we got to Alphabet City, he picked up a chick who seemed pretty chill. She was wearing a leather jacket like me and I was like “maybe we could follow each other on Insta?” I said hi to her, but she was glued to her phone. Ugh, rude! I wish I could review other passengers on Uber.

Manolo dropped her off at 12th street and Avenue A which is like… only a couple blocks. Like I know she was wearing fashion boots; but walk, bitch. When she got off, I knew we were headed straight to my destination. Oh, how foolish I was at thinking I knew things.

We pulled over only a block west. I was like, “Wait, what?”

Manolo said, “We have another pickup.”

Ummmmm, okay, but when do I get out? We picked up this dude visiting from Austin, so at least he said hi to me in the car. But he wasn’t getting dropped off where I was getting dropped off. This was just more time in the Uber pool wasted.

“How do I get out?” I asked Manolo.

“You can’t. You have to stay in here until I drop you off.”

“OMG, am I a hostage?” I asked.

“Yes,” Manolo said and then I swear to God his head turned all the way around on his neck which is like so dangerous to do when driving. “This is Uber Pool and you’re my bitch,” he said. “Welcome to your own personal Hell.”

I screamed and then we dropped off the guy from Austin at a douchey bar in Murray Hill. Which is like, of course. We then picked up a third girl who was wearing an adorable bodycon dress. I was too freaked out to ask her where she got it from. I knew right then and there that the two of us were hostages bound together for the night, or at least until I eventually got dropped off for karaoke night at Tonic.

I pleaded with Manolo, “Please let me go. Please. I have so much to live for. I’ve nurtured three succulents lovingly for five months. I’m texting with a really great guy right now and need to see where this goes. My lifestyle blog is starting to get more followers. Let me out, please.”

Manolo smiled and reminded me that “these are the rules of Uber Pool.”

Honestly. what kind of sick game is this? I just wanted to get out at my destination and pay about half the price of what the ride would normally cost–is that so much to ask?! Finally Manolo rolled up in front of Tonic. He turned around and said, “You are now free, but if you ever take Uber Pool again I will take you straight to my basement.”

Wow. Awkward, right? I learned my lesson, though. I will never take Uber Pool again cause the ride will take a ridiculously long amount of time. I now know exactly what it’s like to be Taken.

Mandi Atkins runs her lifestyle blog Cashmere and Kitten Fur from her loft apartment in Bushwick that she shares with seven vegans.

Image by alehidalgo.