When Uber driver Kgomotso Tiro picked up a supposed drunken customer, he never imagined the trip would end up with him in hospital.
Earlier this month, Tiro was victim to a chemical attack in his car, where he sustained burns on his face and hands. The person who attacked him has not been arrested.
The incident occurred on Sunday 6 August. Tiro says that his attack requested a cash trip which he picked up. Rather than use the map, Tiro says the attacker insisted on giving him directions.
The attacker appeared to be drunk. Tiro didn't think much of it, as he is used to picking people up after midnight when the pubs close.
He pretended to be drunk. He had a container of Red Square with him, thinking he was drinking it. But it was not, there was a chemical inside.— Kgomotso Tiro, Uber attack survivor
After arriving at the destination, Tiro says the attacker asked him to turn left. His tone became aggressive and he asked Tiro to stop the car. That's when the incident occurred.
He poured me with that liquid he had inside the Red Sqaure bottle. He tried a second time, which I blocked with my hands. Then he set me alight and told me to get out of the car.— Kgomotso Tiro, Uber attack survivor
While on fire, Tiro managed to remove his seat belt and get out of the car. He ran to a grassy area and began to roll. He took his jacket and shirt off and ran for help.
I was screaming. I ran down to the main road to get help. I was stopping the cars, but they were just passing me by. No one wanted to stop.— Kgomotso Tiro, Uber attack survivor
Eventually, a security company van saw Tiro and stopped. They called back up, the police and an ambulance who took Tiro to Helen Joseph Hospital.
He stayed there for two weeks. In the beginning of his recovery, Tiro could only eat liquid food through a straw. He was discharged on Friday.
Tiro says that Uber did not contact his family or come to see him while at the hospital. He says he was shocked by this callous behavior.
Jonathan Ayache, General Manager at Uber says that they did make contact with Tiro's family, and attempted to visit him but were prohibited due to hospital policy.
Uber never contacted my family to see how they are doing. They never came to see me or to check how I am doing 'til now, to my shock. You call someone your partner, but you don't even check to see how your partner is doing.— Kgomotso Tiro, Uber attack survivor
Tiro's attacker did not take his car, which remains impounded. He says that it will take a few months for him to recover fully, but until then he can't work. This is a problem as he is the breadwinner of his family.
As to why he was attacked, Tiro says he can't say much. There is too much uncertainty. But one thing he is sure of is that he is angry for what happened to him.
I developed this anger. I still have flashbacks. I can't sleep at night. I still see this guy everyday, I still hear his voice. It's horrible.— Kgomotso Tiro, Uber attack survivor
Listen to the full interview below:
This article first appeared on 702 : Uber acid attack: "While I was screaming, he was laughing"