Woman 'never using Uber again' after accusing driver of X-rated act behind the wheel

Australian woman Tayla Pimlott says she has sworn off Uber after she was left completely dissatisfied with its response to a 'petrifying' incident.

Image of the words 'Uber' on a white car (left) and Tayla Pimlott looking at the camera with a somber face (right).
Tayla Pimlott was travelling home from work in Adelaide when the Uber driver allegedly started to touch himself. Source: Getty/Supplied

The day started like any ordinary one but it ended with Tayla Pimlott fearing for her life in the back of an Uber. After a long day of work she simply wanted a "quick and quiet" journey home during rush hour and decided against public transport. But within minutes of her ride home she was "holding back tears".

The 26-year-old was making a short trip from Adelaide's CBD to Campbelltown around 3.30pm when something caught her eye while in the backseat, causing her to look up from her phone. Gob-smacked, she claimed her driver appeared to be pleasuring himself behind the wheel.

"Usually when someone takes their pants down, they ruffle down a bit or something. I saw none of that, I just saw this subtle hand gesture," she told Yahoo News. "I could see clearly that he [the Uber driver] had his penis out and he was masturbating."

In those split seconds a hundred thoughts crossed Tayla's mind. She recalled how she considered phoning the police, screaming at the driver, or somehow getting out of the moving vehicle.

She even admitted she heard a "little voice" in her head telling her she was overreacting as the man less than a metre away allegedly pleasured himself, a situation that made her feel "violated". However the thought which was most urgent prevailed — she had to prioritise her safety.

The route the Uber was taking from Adelaide CBD to Campbelltown (left) in the app and the text exchange between her and her mum (right).
Tayla contacted her mum as well as her boyfriend to let them know what was happening. Source: Supplied

She contacted her mum and boyfriend and managed to captured footage of the man in the hope she could use it as evidence for the police, mindful it was a "he said, she said situation" if she were to report it without proof.

"There was a part of me that thought, 'Oh god, I could die, I could be raped, this man could touch me'," she said. "My brain was frozen and my heart was pounding... I was petrified."

Tayla decided her best option was to pretend she hadn't noticed what was going on, explaining she feared the driver may lash out if she confronted him.

Once she arrived home, where her mum was waiting for her, she had to ask the driver to unlock the doors.

"He fully turned around and looked at me and in the most creepiest voice I've ever heard he goes, 'Thank you so much'," she said. In utter horror, she replied; "You're welcome" and ran out of the Uber.

"I felt if I made a huge fuss about this I think that would put me in more danger... I had to be polite... I felt ashamed."

Despite the incident happening back in October, Tayla has decided to share her experience now that a national spotlight has been placed on gendered harassment and violence.

Uber were informed of the incident and Tayla urged them to ban him from the platform, however, she was told in the interest of privacy she would not be told if this was actioned or not.

"Based on the severity of the report I can confirm that the appropriate actions have been taken," a message Taylah received from Uber read at the time, giving no further details of their investigation.

The message exchange between Tayla and an Uber worker in the app.
Tayla asked Uber to keep her updated after she reported the incident it refused, citing privacy issues. Source: Supplied

She reported it to police who she claims arrested the man the same night but was later bailed. He was "banned" from visiting her home or work but the incident still deeply impacts Tayla.

"I thought I was okay. But then I realised like, 'Oh, hey, I can't really leave my house without being petrified," she said. "I'm never using Uber again."

In a statement provided to Yahoo News, an Uber spokesperson condemned the driver's alleged actions.

"What’s been reported has no place in the Uber community or anywhere else," the spokesperson said.

"As soon as we were notified of this report, we removed the driver partner’s access to the app immediately and permanently.

"We continue to work to build cutting-edge technology and features to help improve safety for riders and driver-partners on the app, such as the Safety Toolkit, the emergency assistance button and Share my Trip feature. Trips on the Uber platform are not anonymous and all trips are GPS tracked in real time."

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