Last Week I was all excited to finally get to go back to Paris. Moving away from home is difficult, and it is always nice to see people you love.
I spent 5 amazing days in Paris and went back to New York last Sunday, but I wasn’t aware of what was waiting for me there.
After missing my flight, and running through Charles de Gaulle Airport; I finally got to the gates of JFK at 2:30pm and decided to order a Lyft instead of waiting for 2 hours in the long taxi line.
I get out and step on the side to order a ride, when a man asks me if I needed a cab. Instinctively I said yes! I don’t know how to say “no” especially when I am in a rush. I was in a rush, and I needed a cab… why would I’ve said no?
The guy takes my cart and pushes my luggages on the way to the parking. We are waiting. I am starting to stress out because the car that parked in front of us wasn’t a yellow cab but a red ML Mercedes. I look around and see a cop. The guy puts my things in the truck of the car; and I see that none of the cops reacts. For me, nothing was suspect.
I seat in the back of the car and the driver starts to drive. We drive through the highway, and I start to feel comfortable.
Weirdly, the guy calls someone and speaks in foreign language. In my head I am like, “shit I am going to die !” So I call my best friend. She doesn’t answer. I call my boyfriend, and he asks : “did the guy told you how much you had to pay ?”, “no he said that he would tell me later”, he is like “are you dumb ?” (Yes I am). He told me to keep calm and see if he takes a different direction than the usual one. We are still on the highway so I kind of feel safe.
Suddenly the guy turns left, and we are now in Jamaica City, 45 minutes away from New York City. I am freaking out ! I call my friend and she stays on the line with me trying to calm my ass down but man I am so scared at the moment. It’s New York, I mean, they can litterally kill me and bury me, people would never find me there.
The car stops next to a garage.
“Excuse me Miss. The car has a problem, we need you to change driver and go with my coworkers”, “why” I asked, scared as hell, “don’t worry they are very nice. They are professional. They will take you home”…Well okay.
On the phone my friend is like “What the hell is happening?” and I am like “I can’t talk right now, I have to change car”. I hung the phone. (Do you know how dumb you can be when scared ?)
Now I am in this big Escalade car, and 2 guys are in the front. They speak another language, I feel like I am in « Taken », you know the movie that freaks every single girl on earth. The whole time I am on the phone with my friend or my boyfriend. I always have someone on the phone with me. The car smells like weed, I am not convinced that they are as professional as they said.
For 30 minutes we are on the highway and I feel kind of safe because they can’t kill me on the highway ! (Right?) Then the guy shows me this app on his phone, that calculates the pricing of the ride according to the kilometers… we are at $14 at the moment.
I am so scared.
We arrive in Queens, and they ask me if I want to take the bridge or the tunnel. I say that I preferred the tunnel. The guys were pissed. One of them says something on his talkie-walkie. (Weird right ? The guy as a walkie talkie). Anyways, the guy is like “if you want to take the tunnel then, no phone calls”.
I am shitting on myself. I am going to die.
Seriously they are going to kill me ! Of course I instantly changed my mind and said « Well take the bridge instead ». They agree with my choice (their choice) and I open the window. I couldn’t breath anymore.
My boyfriend tells me to tell them to stop the car as soon as there’s a street with shops or banks, so that people can see if anything wrong happens to me. We arrive under the bridge and I see a gas station. There are cops, a Dunkin Donuts and two banks. The guy on the right looks at me and says “now you must give us $90”. My friend on the phone is like “What ? You have to pay 90 bucks for a 30 minutes ride what the fuck ! Where are you ?”.
She is freaking out. I am freaking out!
I call my boyfriend, and he tells me to ask them to stop near the bank so that I can withdraw some money. They turn right and one of the guys asks me where I am from. He says “you are from Switzerland right ?”, “No”, I said, “I am Canadian and I live here. I know the city very well and my brother is waiting for me at the hotel right now”. The guy is pissed, he says something to the driver in their foreign language. I really feel like I am in “Taken” at the moment. I start to pray for my ass. They stop at the bank, and they stay in the car while I am entering the bank. I am like, “shit they are going to steal my things”. I act like I can’t open the door, so that one of them can come to help me.
Finally, he opens the door and wait for me near the door. I withdraw $60, as my boyfriend told me to. Meanwhile I am in the bank my friend is freaking out because I am not answering my phone.
I walk to the car and give them $60. The driver is super pissed ! He turns around for the first time and yells : « We asked you $90 ». I am so scared, my boyfriend on the phone asks me to give him the phone, which I did immediately.
While the guy is arguing with him on the phone I ask the second guy to take my things out of the car and put it in the bank. When he opens the truck the driver yells « What are you doing ?! Stay here ! » and I am like « Take my luggages out of the car please ! ». The guy shows me his phone with his weird app and it shows « Total for the ride : $330 ». I say that I can’t pay $330 for a 30 minutes ride and that I don’t have the funds with me.
The driver hangs the phone and comes at me. He is tall and I am impressed. I shut my mouth. He is like « What do you think you are doing ? You have no money for us ?! », « I don’t, what do you want me to do? Call the cops if it’s a problem » I said, « Come with me in the bank, and show me how you do your withdrawal. ». What he didn’t know is that I had 2 credit cards and that I knew which one would not work.
« You can’t withdraw $100, your funds are not sufficient ».
Now the driver is really pissed and starts to punch the wall, he is like « You pay me now or I will have to call my boys ». The moment he said that I knew I was fucked and I didn’t know what to do. I was in Long Island City, never been there before. It wasn’t that far from Manhattan but I was scared. I threatened them to call the cops and the guy didn’t seemed very scared.
They went back to their car and talked for 5 minutes. The second guy comes to me and says, give me all your cash and we will leave you here. I said that I only had 10 dollars. He is like open your wallet.
No choice, I gave him the $135 I had and they left me. Alone in the back with my 4 luggages… I finally order an Uber and jump in it crying for my life while my boyfriend is screaming at me for being irresponsable.
That was litterally, the worst day of my life. I am so thankful for my friends for helping me while I was in danger.
Guys, learn how to say NO and be safe !
I invite you to go and check my personal blog : She Knows Better for more stories.