After a drive in a City Cab taxi left Deanna Jumbo feeling scared and vulnerable, she took to Facebook to warn others of the encounter. It turns out she’s not the only one who’s had a frightening ride with the cab company.
Jumbo took a taxi on Feb. 7 to see a friend on the other side of town. She first thought the driver’s questions were just polite conversation but started to feel differently when he pressed her to come back to his place for a drink and allegedly offered her money to spend the night.
After Jumbo declined and left the cab, she posted details of the encounter on the Yellowknife Classifieds page on Facebook. As of Wednesday afternoon, that post has amassed 144 shares and more than 100 comments, some of them other women expressing solidarity for having had similar experiences.
One such commenter is Kristie Marie.
Marie recalls an evening from two years prior where she was walking home from the Kilt and Castle and was followed by a City Cab taxi.
She remembers beginning her walk from the downtown bar to her uptown residence in -30 C with just a sweater to keep warm.
When the taxi driver asked if she needed a ride, she declined and told him she didn’t have any money on her. He told her she wouldn’t have to pay but that he did have to pick up other passengers and would just drop her off when they arrived uptown.
About an hour later Marie said she was still in his car.
When he stopped at Tim Hortons and offered to buy her breakfast, Marie declined, stating again that she wouldn’t be able to pay him. The driver told her he just wanted to do something nice and bought her a bagel anyways. Though she hadn’t agreed to the meal, she thanked him repeatedly.
The driver then told her she could pay him back by coming with him back to his place.
When Marie declined and said she just wanted to go home, she said the man was clearly upset with her. She said she considered getting out and walking home but that he took off driving toward the Kam Lake bypass.
There, she said, the driver allegedly gave her an ultimatum to go home with him or walk in the frigid temperatures. Marie said her phone was dead at the time, otherwise she would have called the police.
“I tried to play nice. I knew if I got upset it wouldn’t go anywhere,” she said.
Marie told him she wished she could but she felt like she would be sick and needed to go home. She said his attitude seemed to change and he told her she must think he’s a creep. He eventually did drive her home.
Since then, Marie only calls one driver whom she trusts due to having mutual friends.
While she considered reporting the incident to City Cabs, she was involved in two court cases at the time where she was already grappling with victim blaming.
“I kept imagining there would be more of that,” she said.
When Marie read Jumbo’s post and the stories populating the Facebook comment section, she said she was “surprised to see it’s still going on and that City Cab hasn’t taken any accountability.”
“You would think something would be done,” she said. “They should at least come up with a plan. It’s not just one allegation, it’s a lot and nothing is being done about it.”
Following her incident last week, Jumbo did try to report the incident to the cab company. When she called she was told the manager wasn’t in but would return her call as soon as possible.
“They still haven’t called or contacted me,” she said.
Jumbo said she wrote the Facebook post to alert the public in hopes of preventing similar incidents for others in the future.
“It’s not safe anymore for girls to be alone,” she said. “There are so many Aboriginal women going missing and murdered… I hope things will start changing for the better.”
City Cabs Ltd. told NNSL Media that the allegations were on the agenda to be discussed at a board meeting Wednesday afternoon. Spokesperson Shelley Henderson commented that “Deanna Jumbo has made no attempt to contact our office.”
Henderson referenced “at least two comments within her (online) posting where she is advised to call City Cab and make a complaint. Some of the options we have to identify the driver were explained to her.”
“City Cab (1993) Ltd. takes seriously all complaints. The working system is equipped with GPS, tracking, individual car locations, trips, time and day, history. The history remains available for three months,” Henderson stated.
“Should Ms. Jumbo initiate a resolution to this matter, City Cab will be happy to address.”
Kristine McAuley, media spokesperson with the NT RCMP, encouraged anyone who has experienced inappropriate behaviour to call their local detachment with as much information as possible to assist investigators.
McAuley reminds residents that 9-1-1 is available throughout the NWT if they are in a situation where they feel their safety is compromised.
“I really do hope City Cab can hold their drivers accountable,” Marie said. “It may feel like an attack to them but it’s only because they’re not ready to acknowledge the need to hold their drivers accountable.”