The Disarmament Policy Putting Rideshare Drivers At Risk

A few days ago, I shared the story of Cynthia Norman, a Cleveland, Ohio woman who lost the ability to drive for Lyft after she used her legally-owned and lawfully-carried firearm to defend herself against two carjackers. I’m really glad that Cynthia was able to join me on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co. to talk about her experience and why she’s still encouraging those driving for rideshare companies to protect themselves with a gun if necessary.

Today’s interview is quite a bit longer than what I normally do, but Cynthia Norman is an incredibly engaging individual and her story is too important to truncate without doing it an injustice. I think you’ll be just as engaged as I was doing the interview with her story.

Cynthia Norman became a gun owner a few years ago, when concern about a violent ex-boyfriend prompted her to buy a gun. She went to the range and underwent the training required for her to carry her firearm, but never felt the need to draw her gun until the night two men attacked her in the rental car she was driving. Norman says she’d been assaulted by a passenger once before, but it didn’t escalate to the point where she felt the need to draw her gun, so she never mentioned having it when she reported the assault to Lyft.

The second assault, however, was far more serious.

“I had to fight with these two men. I had one choking me from the back,” Norman told 19 News.

Norman said the other passenger, breaking Lyft’s COVID-19 protocol, insisted on sitting in the front seat.

She said he started punching her in the face as the man in the backseat choked her.

She was driving a rental car and refused to back down.

“They didn’t know I was going to fight back,” she said.

Norman told 19 News she then grabbed her gun from the center console and started shooting.

The two men fled on foot, leaving behind the cell phone they stole from her.

Norman says the day after she was assaulted, a Lyft representative called her to document what happened. As soon as she got to the part about pulling out her gun, the man stopped her and told her that, because she had violated policy, she would no longer be allowed to drive for them.

Norman still had a black eye a sore throat from being punched and choked, and the curt dismissal on the part of Lyft was a literal insult added to injury.

Cynthia Norman says she’s looking for another way to make a little extra cash, but she would never go back to driving unless she could protect herself with her gun. She believes that carjackers know that Uber and Lyft drivers are an easy and unarmed target, pointing to another attack on a woman driving for a rideshare company in Cleveland who was also attacked and carjacked, this time by four men, just a few days after Norman’s own encounter.

It’s not just Cleveland either. In Chicago there’s been a surge in carjackings involving rideshare drivers for at least the past few weeks. An Uber driver was murdered in Dallas just a few days before Cynthia Norman was attacked. Attacks on drivers are not uncommon, and their ability to defend themselves with a legally-owned and lawfully-carried firearm shouldn’t be against company policy for any rideshare company. Uber and Lyft are requiring their contractors to choose between their lives and their livelihoods, and while I know it won’t affect their bottom line, I won’t be using either service until they respect their contractors enough to recognize their basic right of self-defense.