Metro Weekly

Gay dads say Uber driver called police because their son ‘needs his mother’

Uber allegedly responded by offering the couple a $10 refund

Source: uber – Flickr

A gay couple in San Diego claims their Uber driver called the police and accused them of child-trafficking after witnessing their son crying.

In a series of tweets, James Moed said he was staying at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina last week with his husband and infant son, when the police knocked on their door at 1:30 a.m. demanding to see their identification.

He then alleged that it was the Uber driver who took them to the hotel who had alerted police, after telling the fathers that their son “needed his mother.”

Moed claimed that the driver had “called the cops — accusing us of child trafficking [and] endangerment?”

“The same @Uber driver who told us our crying baby needed his mother, and didn’t back down when we tried to explain that our son has 2 dads,” he tweeted.

Moed said the police officers, from the San Diego Harbor Police Department, were “very professional with us, but sadly responding to an @Uber driver motivated by bias and ignorance.”

Despite the officers’ professionalism, he said he and his husband “stayed awake freaking out” after the police had left.

“What if we hadn’t had his [their son] passport?” he wrote. “[Or] the cops had been less agreeable? Where can my queer family travel safely?”

Adding insult to injury, Moed then said that when he complained to Uber about the driver, the company offered a refund for the trip and a “form letter” response.

“Keep [your] $10, we want proof that you keep LGBTQ riders safe from homophobic drivers,” he said.

Uber reached out to Moed on Twitter, asking him to get in contact regarding the incident.

Moed said he spoke the company, requesting an apology from the driver — but not his dismissal — and “evidence of [Uber’s] LGBTQ sensitivity training.”

Two days later, Moed said the company apologized for the couple’s experience, refunded the cost of their trip, referred them to Uber’s community guidelines, and said it had spoken to the driver.

Uber expressly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in its guidelines, but that hasn’t stopped a number of LGBTQ riders voicing incidents of discrimination in recent years.

Last year, the company banned a driver in New Jersey after she was shown on video kicking a lesbian couple out of her car because of their sexuality.

In 2018, a gay D.C. bartender accused a driver of kicking him out of the car and calling police because of his perceived sexuality.

And drivers have also reportedly kicked gay couples out of cars for kissing, including a driver in New York who said it was illegal for two women to kiss in his car, and a Texas couple who said their driver left them on a deserted stretch of road after he saw the men kissing.

In September last year, a study found that rideshare drivers in D.C. were more likely to cancel on riders they perceived as being LGBTQ.

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's online editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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