An Uber driver reportedly stopped a mass shooting when he shot and wounded the assailant before he could kill anyone. Two months later, Uber officially prohibited anyone using the service, both drivers and passengers, from having a firearm in the vehicle under the guise of making everyone feel “comfortable.” Days after that policy change, another driver shot and wounded a passenger who was allegedly choking him. That driver has since been removed from the service (fired). A month after that, another driver pulled a gun on the passenger who grabbed him and refused to leave the car. That driver too was removed.
Uber driver Edward Caban became frustrated with a drunk passenger when, after repeated attempts, the passenger failed to give a coherent destination or directions. Caban ended the ride and asked the passenger, Benjamin Golden, to get out of the car. Golden then proceeded to hit Caban in the head and face. The two struggled until Caban was able to retrieve pepper spray and give Golden a few sprays. Golden was arrested and charged with public intoxication and assault.
Caban was prepared for something like this happening and was able to meet force with force. Uber drivers are assaulted and abused on a regular basis, as well as some passengers. Companies like Uber and Lyft have policies that equate to gun-free zones that limit how drivers can defend themselves in their own cars. But as Caban shows, being in a gun-free zone doesn’t have to mean defenseless. Caban’s pepper spray was enough to stop the threat, which is the same end result we try to achieve with the use of a firearm.
It will be interesting to see Uber’s response to this as they have a track record of restricting and penalizing the victims.