Kensal Rise throat cancer survivor ‘thrown out of Uber cab for not speaking properly’
18:46 10 October 2016
A throat cancer survivor was thrown out of an Uber cab by the driver because ‘she couldn’t speak properly’, she has claimed.
Sam Barbic, who breathes through a hole in her neck and has speech problems, said the driver refused to take her to Convent Garden last week.
The 45-year-old set designer was diagnosed with stage 4 oesophageal cancer five years ago and had to have her throat and voice box removed.
The procedure, which is called a laryngectomy, means Ms Barbic speaks through a new throat made from her intestine.
Ms Barbic said: “In order to speak I have to press the hole in my neck to block the air way and send air in to my mouth so I can make sounds.
“My speech is understandable but takes a bit of time to get used to as I have to pause for breath a lot.
“It’s not very loud and I’ve been told I sound a bit like Darth Vadar.”
After ordering the cab her driver had parked around the corner from her home and when she called him to explain where she was he hung up.
She managed to flag him down but when she got into his car he refused to drive when he heard her voice.
She said: “I asked him why he had driven off. He immediately said get out of the car, I’m not driving you.
“I was stunned. I asked what the problem was and explained I had had throat cancer and that was why my voice was funny but he just kept saying get out the car, get out of the car now.
“He was reacting to me as if I had mental health issues.
“I was in a terrible state, in shock, horrified at how I’d been treated and baffled as to why.
“The only thing I was thankful for was that I was outside my flat not stranded in the middle of nowhere trying to get home.”
In a further twist Ms Barbic was hit with a £5 cancellation fee from Uber.
An Uber spokesman said they will investigate Ms Barbic’s claims.
He said: “We would like to extend our sincerest apologies to Sam. We’re looking into this as a matter of urgency.
“We’re waiting to speak to all parties so we can fully investigate this incident and take the appropriate action.”