Emmy Hurley came to Florida from New England for some sunshine and a little rest and relaxation. Her first moments here were anything but.
“It was the scariest moment of my life,” she said.
Hurley told WFLA she requested an Uber on her cell phone while at Tampa International Airport. A car pulled up and she hopped in.
“She didn’t greet me. She reached back and opened the door for me,” Hurley said about the driver.
Moments later, the driver she was supposed to be with called her. At that second, Hurley said she realized she’d gotten into the wrong car.
“She wasn’t driving well. She wouldn’t respond to my simple questions. At one point I was terrified. She wouldn’t let me out of the car,” she said.
Hurley said she saw a group of girls walking along the road and got out quickly. She said the girls told her the driver could have been a woman possibly working in the sex trafficking industry. She made mention of that in a Facebook post which has been shared more than 390,000 times as of Wednesday afternoon.
“She drove erratically and didn’t speak. I found out later she is a sex traffic worker,” Hurley wrote in the post. “They use women to lure people in, and possibly hang out in the Uber to steal rides of similar looking cars.”
WFLA talked to an Uber driver who wasn’t involved in the situation.
“Always verify your driver because that has happened to me where someone has gotten in my car, thinking I was their Uber,” said Derrick Parker.
As for Hurley, she’s glad she got away.
“I’m not quite sure what I did but I got out of that car. And still to this day I stand by the fact that I think this was life-changing,” she said.
When contacted Wednesday morning, Tampa Police Department spokesman Eddy Durkin clarified the incident and said there was apparently a language barrier issue.
“She got into the wrong Uber car. It has nothing to do with sex trafficking,” Durkin said over the phone.
He urged people to use proper safety measures when hailing a ride on a ridesharing app.
“People have to be sure they are getting into the right cars,” Durkin said.