NEW ORLEANS — It was supposed to be a quick trip, about 15 miles, from downtown New Orleans to Kenner where George Horton lives. However, when Horton and a friend got into their Uber Saturday night, he says the driver went the opposite direction.
"My first reaction was like, you know, you're going the wrong way, everybody makes mistakes, it's fine," Horton said.
Horton says when the driver, identified by police as Ahmad Ahmad, wasn't responding, he got worried.
"I kind of started to panic," Horton said.
Already across the river at this point, Horton says an argument led Ahmad to pull over, under the Westbank Expressway on General de Gaulle Drive. Horton says Ahmad told them to get out.
Horton says he called police and then requested another Uber, which showed up before the cops.
"It scares me, you know, the only thing I could think about was my kids," said Melissa Reames, who started driving for Uber last Summer.
Not knowing what just happened, Reames says when she got there, Horton and his friend got in her back seat. That's when she says Ahmad started coming through her passenger side window, yelling, before eventually getting inside her car, grabbing her keys form the ignition. Horton says he and his friend got out of the backseat to pull Ahmad out of the car. That's when Horton and Reams say Ahmad went to get a gun from his car.
"I remember screaming he's got a gun and after I scream this, they take off running," Reames said.
"The gun was pointed to me and then I heard the shot and like I said, I just started running in zig-zags, then there was second shot," Horton said.
"He turned toward each of them and shot one time. He was trying to shoot them," Reames said.
As Horton and his friend ran, Reames was still inside her car.
"He proceeds to come back to my car in my window with the gun, waving it in my face, telling me this is all your fault for picking them up," Reames said. “I’ve never been so scared. I remember screaming to him that I'm a single mom. I have three kids, please don't shoot."
According to Ahmad's Uber profile, he has a close to perfect 4.8 rating and passed a multi-step safety screening. For Horton and Reames, that safety screening from Uber means nothing now.
"They need to do safety checks a little bit harder and know who they've got working for them," Reames said.
Horton says it all boils down to a false sense of security and he is not planning to use a car service anytime soon.
“Who thinks something is going to happen to you in your Uber," he said. "Especially by the driver."