Love Island’s Emily Ward shares terrifying airport experience

Former Love Island Australia contestant Emily Ward has issued an urgent warning to rideshare users after she was left feeling “unsafe” during a recent ride from Melbourne airport.

Taking to TikTok, the 26-year-old said she found herself in a “dangerous situation” when her DiDi rideshare was abruptly cancelled during her trip from the airport to her parent’s house last Wednesday.

“Something really dangerous happened to me at the airport yesterday and I’m going to talk about it because I need people to be aware about why this is dangerous,” she began the video, which has amassed over 880,000 views.

In the video, Ms Ward, who lives in Queensland, said she ordered a DiDi driver to pick her up from the airport but shortly after getting in the car, she received a notification from the ride share app.

“I get in (the car), he confirms the address I’m going to and then the car starts moving away. Then I get a notification on my phone telling me that my driver has cancelled and I’m being matched with another driver.”

She said she immediately flagged the notification with her driver and asked if he may have accidentally cancelled the trip.

“He starts (saying) it must be a mistake with the app, I just confirmed your address, did you press something? … He keeps insisting it’s something I must have done,” she explained.

With the trip cancelled, Ms Ward said she was concerned she could not track her ride in the app or send the details to her family for safety.

“This is where I start to get really scared because right now, all of my belongings are in this man’s car. I’m strapped into this man’s car, which he is trying to slowly edge out of the airport pick-up area.”

The driver then suggested Ms Ward continue the trip and pay via a direct bank transfer, but Ms Ward refused as she had already been matched with another driver.

“As a woman, by myself in that situation, you start freaking out, you get that gut feeling that something isn’t right.”

Ms Ward said the driver began “guilt-tripping” her to stay in the car so he wouldn’t have to wait for another passenger, but she insisted that she be dropped back off at the airport pick-up area.

Speaking to news.com.au about the incident, the 26-year-old said she was “frustrated” that she had to tell the driver multiple times that she didn’t want to continue the ride.

“He attempted to emotionally manipulate me when I was already feeling so unsafe. It’s super frustrating, it made me really angry.”

The driver eventually let Ms Ward off at the airport and helped her remove the luggage from his car.

But while she was waiting for her matched driver to arrive, she noticed the man had picked up another passenger and was attempting the same stunt again.

“I realised he had been convincing people to pay him upfront for the trip to avoid paying the fees from the ride share platform,” she said.

Concerned, she explained the situation to a nearby airport employee patrolling the pick-up area.

The employee quickly informed the other passenger of the situation and “shooed” the DiDi driver away.

When Ms Ward later met up with her new matched driver and explained the uncomfortable situation she just experienced, he said he knew of “a lot of other drivers who do that”.

“(The driver) said he would never do that to a woman because they’re less likely to feel safe, and therefore they could report the driver,” she said.

The 26-year-old said she decided to share the ordeal on TikTok to warn other rideshare uses to “stay safe and be vigilant”.

“It’s really frustrating to think that he could just do this another day.”

Since sharing the video, she’s come to learn just how common her experience is among other rideshare users.

“My TikTok comments proved to me that this happened lots and lots of time, and there have been scarier situations,” she said.

“It makes me angry how many people have had such awful interactions with ride share drivers in terms of being made to feel unsafe.”

It’s why she encourages other women using ride share services to always share trip information with a loved one and change their name in the app to a man’s name.

“You can use your partner’s name or any man’s name because it weeds out weirdos who might just be trying to pick up women.”

Ms ward has since reported the incident to DiDi.

“I believe that these apps have tried to implement as many safety standards as possible. But at the end of the day, if somebody’s figured out a way around it, there is going to be somebody who (is going to) do that.”

“I would like for them to come up with a solution, but I can’t realistically see what that is at the moment.”

News.com.au contacted DiDi for comment and is yet to receive an official statement on the incident.

However, a member of the company’s customer support team said that DiDi does not support any form of cash payment and recommended the rider rate the driver in the DiDi Rider app.

If a driver receives multiple complaints, their account may be suspended or deactivated.

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