A woman sparked mass panic among Uber users after claiming in a viral Facebook post that she was nearly kidnapped by a sex trafficker after getting in the wrong car.
Emmy Hurley claimed she had a terrifying experience after ordering an Uber when she arrived in Tampa, Florida.
She hopped in the ride-share and Ms Hurley had no idea anything was amiss as they drove off. It wasn’t until she received a phone call from her actual Uber driver that she realised the mistake she had made.
“Last night I was picked up by an Uber. Same car, female driver. I MADE A MISTAKE,” the Facebook post read.
“I got in before checking, as she opened the back door for me from her seat.”
She said the woman she thought was her Uber driver drove around erratically for 10 minutes and didn’t speak to her when she got in the car.
“About 10 minutes in, my actual Uber called me asking where I was,” the post continued.
“My voice cracked, because in that instant I knew. ‘A car … I think I need help’.”
Ms Hurley then claimed her real Uber driver, Cristin Cinquino, told her to stay on the phone and get out of the car immediately.
However, she claimed that when she asked the driver to stop she “refused” and ignored her request.
“I told her she was driving by my friends (random girls I saw) and they would call the cops,” Ms Hurley said in the post.
“She slowed a little, pointing at her phone saying ‘Uber. I take you back then’.”
She told her she wanted to be dropped off where they were and made the decision to jump out of the moving car when the driver didn’t comply.
Ms Hurley said the driver then sped off, with “numerous people” later informing her the driver was probably a sex traffic worker.
“They use women to lure people in, and possibly hang out in the Uber lot to steal rides of similar looking cars,” she claimed.
Instead of going straight to the police, Ms Cinquino, her real Uber driver, picked her up.
“(She) hugged me, kept me safe, and cried with me. Always, always check your Uber. I’m lucky,” Ms Hurley wrote.
The terrifying ordeal seemed to be backed up by a Facebook post made by Ms Cinquino, which has since been deleted.
In her post the Uber driver claims she was “directly involved” in a sex trafficking incident.
The post starts with her explaining that she received the booking from Ms Hurley but when she arrived at the meet up point she was no where to be seen.
She said she became worried when she called her multiple times and she didn’t answer and when she finally did the “longest, scariest five minutes of (her) life” ensued.
“She said back to me ‘I think I got in a car that’s not an Uber, I NEED HELP’,” the post read. “I listened on the other end helplessly while this girl is crying, begging the driver to let her out.”
Ms Cinquino claimed she could hear the driver telling her to calm down and saying “I’m an Uber driver” in a foreign accent.
The driver reportedly continued to drive, with Ms Cinquino claiming she was “likely headed to a warehouse … where they ship all these victims away”.
At the end of her post Ms Cinquino said that she believed the other woman was watching her when she got the booking and purposefully picked the passenger up before she could.
After the story had already been shared thousands of times the local police came out with a slightly different version of events.
Tampa police announced on Wednesday that the incident was reported to them and they discovered that it was nothing more than a misunderstanding, according to Tampa Bay Times.
Authorities claim the woman who picked Ms Hurley up actually was an Uber driver but had picked up the wrong passenger.
The driver spoke Spanish but had little understanding of English, leading to a miscommunication between herself and Ms Hurley.
“The language barrier, and the fact that the woman got into the wrong car, led to confusion,” police said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, that also led to inaccurate conclusions that were then posted on social media.”
Police said that claims the driver was a sex trafficker were unfounded.
Police took the opportunity to remind ride-share users to always double check that they are getting in the right car.
The Uber app provides the license plate and model of car, the name of the driver and their photo. Passengers are urged to ask the Uber driver who they are picking up before getting in the car to ensure it is the correct vehicle.