If you’ve ever been on your way home in a rideshare or taxi and things started to feel a little sketchy, you’re not alone. While for the most part, our experiences with ride sharing apps have been positive, sometimes maintaining your personal safety, especially as a woman requires creative thinking.
Who hasn’t walked home alone at night with a phone pressed up to your ear (whether there’s someone on the line or not) and your hands in your jacket pocket holding your keys Wolverine style? One unlikely but incredible resource being made for teens, by teens, are fake Uber safety phone calls.
A quick note: most ride-share apps have safety features built in, including options to share your ride with someone, so that they can see where you are and how you’re travelling. Plus, if you’re anything like us you probably already have a few friends you permanently share your location with. But sometimes a location share alone isn’t enough. We’re often coming home later than someone might be awake, or if you live alone or your housemates are out there’s actually no one physically waiting for you.
What these Uber TikTok videos do is make it appear to a driver that someone, often a male or a parent, is awake, looking out for you, and waiting for you to get home. It’s a bit more of an active deterrent of any potential creepy behaviour, or worst case scenario, an escalation to violence or assault.
The videos are realistic, one sided phone calls that an Uber passenger can pretend to respond to: people are making them in varying accents, languages and with different mentions of other “deterrents” in them. For example, one video creates a scenario where an Uber rider is able to say that they have a taser on them, while another includes the sound of a large barking dog in the background.
And now, there’s an Australian version of the Uber TikTok video. Created by user @sarahhenley_, the video also counts you in, and like others includes cues for what a rider should say. In the video, after “answering” Henley says that the lights are on and “Jackson” is waiting too, before adding that she has your location and will wait up. The video doesn’t mention the words Uber or taxi either, so you could use it in whatever kind of ride you’re taking to get home. It’s a simple thing to save in your phone, that you’ll hopefully never need.
TikTok is truly a gift that keeps on giving. Heartwarming Korean grandmothers, adorable dance reactions, home redecorating tips, and beauty tutorials that might make YouTube obsolete, are just a few of the things that keep us coming back to the micro-video app. And now it’s tryna keep us safe too. Bless TikTok.