I n 2012, shortly after Uber started operating in Los Angeles, Rachel Galindo bought a new car and signed up as a driver. She had worked as a journeyman carpenter, but contractors who used to hire her stopped calling after she transitioned her gender. Driving for Uber, Galindo hoped to avoid transphobia — after all, the company’s own billboards made the tantalizing promise: “Be your own boss.”
The harassment began almost immediately.
On three separate occasions, she said, passengers got into her car and, without saying anything else, simply asked, “How much for a BJ?” Another passenger kept referring to her as “it” during the ride and, when Galindo asked her to stop, the passenger responded, “Well, I just don’t know ‘what’ you are.”
She repeatedly complained to Uber about such incidents, but she said the company would only respond using generic emails — it took three years of lodging regular complaints for an actual Uber employee to call Galindo on the phone to discuss the repeated harassment.
“I kept crying for help,” she said. “But no one was listening’
Galindo said that she sees parallels between her experience and that of Susan Fowler, the former engineer at Uber’s corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley […]