Grab rider gets obscene messages from driver

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This Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) driver thought he could grab an opportunity to express his lewdness. He might just end up getting suspended – or worse. (UPDATE: He has indeed been suspended by Grab Philippines.)

As the traffic situation in Metro Manila continues to worsen with the holidays, more people are using the services of ride-hailing platforms to get to their destination quickly and with ease. But a commuter recently warned the public to be cautious following her troubling experience with a Grab driver.

It was supposed to be an ordinary day for Kath Agustin, who decided to take a Grab going to her office on Wednesday morning in Quezon City. But instead of the usual book-and-ride routine, the driver told her that he’ll rather drive her to a motel.

In a series of tweets where she included screenshots of their exchange on the Grab app, Agustin shared that after booking a Grab, the driver, identified as Paulo Mendoza de Guzman, suddenly sent her an inappropriate message, telling her that he’ll drive her straight to a motel.

“To my surprise, he immediately messaged me, ‘Deretso po tayong Sogo (We’ll go straight to Sogo), ma’am.’” Agustin said.

Shocked by the message, Agustin then asked what De Guzman meant.

“I was stunned; the nerve of this person to ask me such a thing, so I clarified, ‘Sogo? Anong (What) Sogo?’ At this point, I wanted to cancel the ride immediately but I wouldn’t just let him get away just like that. So, I screen-capped (captured) everything first before I cancelled.”

Unbelievably, the driver then boldly replied to Agustin, “Hotel po, ilang taon ka na ba (how old are you)?”

“There was only one thing going on in my mind. You have made a huge mistake. I think this person doesn’t know that he can be punished by law for sexual harassment. I cancelled the booking because (of) this person,” Agustin said.

Following the incident, Agustin has reportedly reached out to Grab Philippines, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, and Land Transportation Office for immediate action. Agustin also called the attention of Mayor Joy Belmonte since the incident happened in Quezon City.

Agustin then urged the public to be cautious and immediately report drivers who cross the line.

“This guy deserves to be punished and be taught his lesson. I’m also calling (on) everyone to stay vigilant, and give a suggestion to not deal with people like this but instead, report them immediately and follow up to get your justice,” Agustin said.

Meanwhile, Agustin said that Grab Philippines already contacted her and said that there were prior unsavory reports that they have received relating to De Guzman. “According to Grab, I wasn’t the only one yesterday. There were a couple more reports concerning the same driver before and after my booking. This is still aside from all other complaints made for the same driver the entire week, starting Monday.”

Sought for comment, Grab Philippines told WHEELS.PH that they have suspended the driver from its system.

“We have immediately suspended the driver and are now conducting investigations to probe the incident. We have also reached out to the passenger to keep her updated on the resolution of the case.

“Grab condemns this inappropriate behaviour. Our main goal is to provide everyone a safe transportation option and we will not condone any behavior that counters this goal,” the company said in a statement.

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