US woman uses crowdfunding to pay Uber bill

Uber's surge pricing
A Baltimore waitress and freelance writer used crowdfunding platform GoFundMe to pay for her Uber ride after a night of partying.

Unfortunatey for Gabby Wathen, it just so turned out that it was the night of Halloween and the Uber rates had hiked to nine times the price. And the next day was her 26th birthday as well as the day she had to pay rent.

Not having enough money to pay her landlord, Wathen took to GoFundMe with a post titled “Uber Stole My 26th Birthday,” with the below: 

"I live in Baltimore and went out with my friends to celebrate my birthday at midnight. When 3 AM rolled around, I suggested we take an Uber home to avoid drunk driving (#responsibility/#MADD). I live 22 minutes, tops, from the party I was leaving.

"When I awoke this morning, I heard a friend talking about how outrageous Uber rates were the night before (9x original rate). I checked my bank account when, unbeknowst to me, I see a charge for $362. Not only is it my 26th birthday, it is rent day. My rent is $450 and I can no longer pay it today due to this completely outrageous charge."

The project has now been taken down from the site but Wathen managed to raise over US$573 with an original goal of US$362.

The crowdfunding project recieved some backlash from its comments however.

One person said:

"Really… it’s her own fault for being too drunk to realize. Uber makes you type in what the current fare increase is so you’re aware that you’re requesting a ride during a price hike."

A Uber representative in Maryland told Buzzfeed that Wathen had chosen Uber Black, the more expensive town car and limousine service. The spokeswoman confirmed that she would have had to type in the increased rate to show she was aware of it.

"Uber ensures a safe, reliable ride, wherever and whenever, and dynamic pricing allows us to remain the reliable choice, even on the busiest nights of the year. Our in-app features ensure dynamic pricing is repeatedly communicated and approved before any trip is confirmed."

This isn't the first time that crowdfunding has been used for weird purposes though. 

Who could forget Emoji Dick, where a New Yorker raised US$3,676 to turn the classic tale of Moby Dick into a novel made entirely of emojis.

Or when one man tried to raise US$25,000 for Watermelon Straps

And finally when a guy from Dallas tried to crowdfund for a small aluminium cube because modern technology was just too complicated.