Everyone agreed it was evil, but evil was kind of their
brand by that point.
They were already applying nothing by way of background
checks as part of their hiring practices, the pay they offered was, once you worked
out the math and expenses, well below minimum wage for their drivers, and while
we’d bitched about surge pricing we hadn’t actually stopped using the companies
services, sorry, the app’s services, they’d made it very clear that they were
an app rather than a corporation, and as such were not bound by labor laws or
regulation the same way a corporation was.
So yes, they already provided a service where, for prices
that spiked randomly through the day, a driver who earned less than the legal
minimum wage would drive you to were you wanted to go, probably, and for all
you know would murder you once you arrived there, with legal steps taken to
distance them from any consequence of the results of their policies. They were
evil, they were an evil company, sorry, an evil app, and we’d at some point
just kind of accepted that.
In our defense, cabs are also horrible, so our standard with
regard to this sort of thing had already been abysmally low.
Nonetheless, corporate malfeasance level evil is a
completely different thing from actually sending suicide bombers out to blow up
trains in an attempt to drum up business by disrupting public transit.
And we were shocked, at first, that they would do this.
First because privately held companies had not, to that point, resorted to acts
of actual terrorism, at least ones that were public knowledge, and second,
because how did they even find people willing to blow themselves up and kill
hundreds of innocent bystanders on behalf of an app-based rideshare program?
I mean, on behalf of a religion, or a political ideology, is
one thing, it’s horrible but I at least get it, but on behalf of an app-based
rideshare program? I found it, frankly, bizarre. And also horrifying, as at the
time I took the train to work each day.
Watching bodies being pulled out of the wreckage, after that
first attack, I was in shock, watching slack-jawed as cameras panned over
bloody debris and pundits speculated as to who might have been behind this
brutal, senseless attack.
We assumed it was a terrorist organization, because it was
an organized act of terrorism, and that’s who generally tends to commit those. But
before long, rumors started spreading….
And, when their CEO finally went in front of the cameras and
explained that no, his company was not behind the bombing, because he didn’t
own a company, he only owned an app that allowed suicide bombers to find their
way to public transit hubs in exchange for significantly less than the legal
minimum wage, I was furious. We all were. There were very clear laws against
both this sort of shady business practice and murder, and I couldn’t even begin
to process the fact that he thought so little of the people who worked for him,
and also the people who’s remains were being pulled out of the wreckage he’d
caused, sorry, facilitated.
We were all angry, every one of us, and we demanded that our
leaders do something about this, arrest him, arrest the whole board of
directors who’d signed off on this whole horrifying campaign, do SOMETHING to
keep us safe. And our leaders did what they could, or at minimum claimed they
were doing so.
Because, by keeping the attack at arms length, legally there
was nothing to connect the company that owned the rights to the app to the
actual terrorist attacks, they were two legally distinct entities, and the
authorities’ hands were, from that point of view, tied.
I have zero doubt the sheer weight of campaign donations thrown
around the previous election cycle had had something to do with the relative
lack of response as well, but I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist…
“Well,” we told one another, “I’m at very least never going
to use their service again.”
And, as we said it, we meant it genuinely. Though for most
of us it was only a few weeks ‘til we were using their app (the rideshare one,
not the suicide bomber one) once more.
I mean, what else could we do?
We have places to go, after all.
And it’s not as though we could take public transit, I mean
people suicide bomb trains, public transit is very dangerous.
And really, sometimes a little creative destruction is just
what an industry needs…