Zainab Abrahams is a business woman, flower seller and decorator in Claremont. She left R10 000 in cash in purse in a Uber vehicle and is struggling to recover the money. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
Zainab Abrahams is a business woman, flower seller and decorator in Claremont. She left R10 000 in cash in purse in a Uber vehicle and is struggling to recover the money. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Flower seller claims R10 000 disappeared inside Uber cab

By Genevieve Serra Time of article published Apr 25, 2021

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Cape Town - A flower seller has launched an inquiry with Uber Services after she forgot her purse with R10 000 cash inside belonging to her business and could not reach the driver.

Zainab Abrahams, 52, and her family have been in the flower industry for the past five decades. They operate from space inside Cavendish Square.

Last week, Abrahams’ daughter, Aneeqah Abrahams, 26, logged a trip via her cellphone using her Uber app, from Cavendish Square to her residence in Lansdowne at 1.30pm.

She had in her possession, R10 000 in cash inside her purse, a portion of which had to be deposited for stock.

Abrahams said her family, including her grandmother, mother and sister had been in the flower trade for five decades and this was their sole income.

“I began at a very tender age, learning the trade from my grandmother and mother,” explained Abrahams. “My mother is in her 70s and still does flower decorating."

On Friday, April 16, Abrahams said she used the Uber service, which she and her family normally use.

“I asked my daughter Aneeqah to book the trip from the Cavendish area to my home in Lansdowne,“ she said

She carried with her R10 000, a portion of the money for the suppliers based in Johannesburg. “ I only work every two weeks so part of it was my income."

Abrahams says she realised she had accidentally left the purse containing the money inside the vehicle, just minutes after she was dropped off at her home.

She immediately asked her daughter to contact the driver, who apparently did not answer their calls and later switched his cellphone off.

“I had just gotten out of the Uber and received a call from the suppliers from Johannesburg about the payment when I realised I had left the purse inside the vehicle. We made three calls to the drivers cellphone and it just rang.

“Then the phone was switched off."

Next, Abrahams with the assistance of her family, immediately contacted Uber and visited the police station.

“When I contacted Uber, they said I need to report it at the police station, which I did, at Lansdowne,” she adds.

"They (police) said I need to wait 24 hours and return. I did as they said and they said they cannot assist me with opening a case, as the money was not stolen.

“But I explained to them and Uber that this driver has not returned our calls and that the money was left inside the vehicle. Uber has just promised they will try and locate the driver.”

Aneeqah said Uber communicated that they had eventually reached the driver on Monday who claimed he was not aware of the money. “I am very disappointed, we travel with Uber at least three times a week,” she said.

Abrahams said she had made peace with the fact that the money was gone as a devout Muslim. “I feel sad but I must accept what Allah has placed on my path.”

Meanwhile Uber’s media office has communicated asking for the passenger’s contact details in order to carry out its own investigation.

They have since stated that their Uber Incident Response team was unaware of the incident.

They have indicated that drivers undergo intense criminal profiling before being allowed to use Uber’s brand and title for business purposes. They said would look into the matter.

Uber also stated that drivers were not responsible for the personal belongings of passengers.

“We understand that there are instances where items are accidentally left behind in Uber. We suggest that riders always do a quick check before they leave the vehicle.

“If riders have a difficult time reaching their driver, they can let Uber know via the various 24/7 customer support channels such as our phone line or in-app support.

“From here, Uber will call the driver on your behalf to ensure they check their car thoroughly. We’ll then inform you whether the item has been found. If the item has been located, we’ll help coordinate for the item to be returned to you.”

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