PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – John Geary says he’s been an Uber driver for the past six months, providing 860 rides and making 495 Uber Eats deliveries. He says he’s never had any major problems until Wednesday.
“All it takes is this once incident, this one person to say something to destroy your life,” said Geary.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office put out an alert just before 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, saying a woman called 911 to report a “physical altercation with a hidden passenger in the vehicle stowed away under a blanket in the backseat.”
At 4:05 p.m., the Sheriff’s updated the alert saying, “Pasco Sheriff’s deputies are currently searching for John Geary, the registered owner and Uber driver from the suspicious incident, which has been reclassified to a kidnapping.”
Geary says he had no idea he was being searched for until his girlfriend called him. He says later, deputies confronted him and his girlfriend with their weapons drawn and questioned him about a ride he’d given earlier in the day.
Geary says he picked up a woman at her work around 7:00 a.m. but during the ride, she tried to change the direction of the trip. Geary says he asked the passenger to update the trip in her app and when she refused, he decided to end the ride.
He says that outraged his passenger.
“She grabs my door handle, it slips out of her hand, she’s frustrated, she’s yelling at me in the back seat, stop, stop, stop. I said Mamm, I’m about to let you out,” Geary said.
He says it took a few moments for him to find a place to safely pull over and by then she was kicking his car door.
“She tells me she’s calling the cops. I said, great call the cops, I just ended the trip,” said Geary.
He believes that’s when she made up a story about the ride and called 911.
On Thursday, a reporter from News Channel 8 looked into the back of Geary’s car and found it nearly impossible for a person to be hidden under a blanket in the back seat without someone noticing before they got into the car.
Geary says the accusations have ruined his reputation and Uber has now dropped him as a driver.
“I think for me, it’s emotional, it’s emotional that somebody can destroy your life,” said Geary with tears in his eyes.
He plans to appeal Uber’s decision so he can keep driving for them.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office says the incident is still under investigation, but Geary is not facing any charges.