Award-winning Minnesota children's author Kelly Barnhill is using her storytelling skills to draw attention to an often overlooked problem with ridesharing services: how vulnerable we are as passengers.
On Thursday, Barnhill — perhaps best known for her Newberry-winning 2016 book, "The Girl Who Drank the Moon" — wrote a series of tweets detailing her experience with a Lyft driver the previous weekend in Houston, Texas.
The story becomes more and more chilling with each tweet, with the Lyft driver taking Barnhill far off the suggested route and repeatedly telling her she had "pretty eyes":
You can read the entire thread by clicking right here.
In subsequent tweets, the author says Lyft eventually refunded her the nearly $100 the trip cost her, but "only AFTER my story was retweeted hundreds of times":
"I'm not going to use rideshares for a while," she also said. "I just don't think it's safe."
Barnhill's story has gone viral, and inspired many others to share their own horror stories about Uber and Lyft drivers.
This comes at a time of increasing scrutiny on the ridesharing services, especially where driver screening practices and passenger safety are concerned.
Just last month, both companies rolled out new safety measures following the murder of a University of South Carolina student — allegedly by a man posing as her Uber driver, Verge notes.
For Uber, the website says, one such measure was implementing an alert system reminding customers to match the license plate, make, and model of the vehicle picking them up to the driver information on the app.
For Lyft, it meant instituting a policy of "continuous background checks and enhanced identity verification for drivers."
A CNN report from last August found that 103 Uber drivers had bee "accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers" over the previous four years.
The network also found that 18 Lyft drivers had been similarly accused during that period as well.