Woman Jumps From Car, Convinced Deaf Lyft Driver Was Kidnapping Her

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 21:  A Lyft car sits at a stoplight on January 21, 2014 in San Francisco, California. As ridesharing services like Lyft, Uber and Sidecar become more popular, the San Francisco Cab Driver Association is reporting that nearly one third of San Francisco's licensed taxi drivers have stopped driving taxis and have started to drive for the ridesharing services.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
It looks friendly...Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

After using ride-share service Lyft to catch a lift back to her home in a San Fransisco suburb, a 28-year-old woman became convinced, when the driver detoured from the usual route and refused to acknowledge her increasingly strained pleas to stop the car, that she was being kidnapped. The woman proceeded to jump out of the (unlocked) passenger door, at a stoplight, breaking her ankle as she ran off to alert the police, SFGate reports

The alleged kidnapper, turns out, was deaf. Lyft, which cultivates a more friendly, down-home reputation than Uber, is known for being a place for hearing-impaired people to find work, since they don’t have to talk on the phone.

This Reddit AMA with a deaf Lyft driver should provide future passengers with a quick primer on what to expect should they come into contact with a hearing-impaired driver. Apparently, fear of deaf Lyft drivers has prompted the “fight or flight” urge once before

Well, there was the guy who, when I told him I was deaf, his eyes went super wide and he sat back completely frozen. Me: “I’ll get you there as soon as I can. I see we’re going XXX address, right?” Him: Frozen. Me: “Ok, here we go.” Then he wanted to be dropped off at a Denny’s and he BOLTED from my car, around the corner never to be seen again.”

Many deaf drivers provide some means of communication for their passengers. A shared keyboard to input directions, texting via the Lyft app, or the time-tested pen and a pad of paper allow passengers to convey directions or special instructions that, more importantly, reduce the impulse to jump out of a perfectly safe vehicle, something extremely beneficial for clumsy runners.

Another pet peeve of hearing-impaired drivers: Don’t sign every upcoming turn. GPS still does the job, even if the user can’t hear.