Photo by Trevor Blackmore
Proud Uber driver and grandmother sets the standard for taxi drivers and ride-sharing services everywhere.
Kathy Raydings, 57, is just one person trying to make a difference. She’s been dubbed Grandma Uber.
Kathy drives the streets of Brisbane to make sure young people, especially women, make their way home safely.
“I’m just a grandmother, who cares for people, and I want to get as many girls home safe as I can, that’s my mission, that is my purpose.” Kathy said.
Grandma Uber understands the kids like to go out and have a good time.
But when the night ends, all Kathy wants is to get the party-goers home to their families.
Photo by Trevor Blackmore
It was after a horrific work related injury, she started driving for Uber part time on the Gold Coast where she lives, as a means to continue making a living.
“The accident in October last year, put myself in financial hardship and I had to get myself a second job.” Kathy said.
After discovering a love for her new job, Grandma Uber then turned her attention to Brisbane. Kathy had heard Brisbane was a much better for new Uber drivers.
“I came up here for my own experience and loved it, and thought this is the place I needed to be.” Kathy said.
As Kathy commenced driving with Uber in Brisbane, she began to hear recurring stories of young women and harassment they faced in late night cab rides.
Kathy was shocked to hear frightening stories of young women alone in late night cab rides. Girls not being able to pay their fares, of demands for sexual favours, and girls being locked in the back of cabs.
“No women should be in fear for their lives, just to get home.” Kathy said.
Kathy has clocked almost three and a half thousand Uber trips to date.
The majority of which Kathy have been devoted to getting young women out of Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley and home safely.
“The girls are in fear, they won’t get into a cab late night,” Kathy said. “If these taxi drivers had a rating system like Uber, they would be logged off.”
Kathy believes we need to get everyone home safely, nobody; man, women or child should have to deal with this harassment.
In the beginning, after only a few weeks in Brisbane, Kathy felt compelled to do something. She was facing financial hardship herself, but still felt she needed to do something to get these women home.
“My dream is to have three cars, six drivers, six grandmother drivers, under the Grandma Uber banner. Ultimately I would like to get a 12 seater party bus to get 12 women home at once, that’s what we are working on now.” Kathy said.
“As a parent, I would hate to think my child was sexually assaulted on the way home, and wondering where she is, we should never have that fear.” Kathy said.
But since the announcement from the government, to legalise ride-staring services in Queensland, Kathy and other Uber drivers are excited to finally receive the recognition for the hard wok they do, she said it was the best day when the news came in.
“In the last several months, I’ve put in a massive effort, driving 70 hours a week. To make sure I get people home, and do what I can to ensure their safety.” Kathy said.
Kathy holds Uber and her job in high regard, saying that it is the greatest company in the world and suggests that many other company’s should follow their model.
Kathy has been on the national news representing Uber and the drivers, after the second time she was fined by Queensland transport for trying to do her job.
She recalls an incident when a police officer ordered a rider out of her car one night. At the time putting another intoxicated person back on the streets. But she would not let that stop her, because she believes what she is doing is too important.
She said that the police have told Uber they will continue to fine drivers up until the September 5 2016, until the law passes. But all the Uber drivers are fighting back by going to court with their fines.
Kathy spoke about how proud she is to work with Uber and all it has to offer to our community.
“Uber just opens so many doors to so many different people, I’m so proud to work for this company”.