A part-time Syracuse Uber driver helped a domestic violence victim escape from an abusive relationship.

The first of the month is always a busy day for Dustin Czarny. As an Uber “XL” driver, he’s used to seeing people get in the car with moving boxes. However, what happened on March 1st was different.

“There was a few, you know, a mother and a couple young kids with a lot of boxes. And I thought they were moving from apartment to apartment,” said Dustin Czarny.

Little did he know, the mother and her two kids were leaving an abusive household.

Once Czarny drove away from the home, the family turned their phones off and broke down crying.

“She just started to kind of give me the story that she was fleeing an abusive relationship, that she was shipping her boxes to her parents who she hadn’t seen in six years. And the kids hadn’t seen in six years,” Czarny said.

Czarny stuck with the family, helped them with their escape plan, amiring their strength.

“It was hard to see the kids not be able to feel safe in where they were but, it was nice that they felt safe where they were going,” Czarny said.

The woman in this scenario did reach out to Vera House and she did speak with a victim advocate about coming up with a safety plan. If you or someone you know needs help, you can have them call this hotline and somebody will always be there to listen.

“When we’re doing safety planning with people, we run into, I don’t have friends, I don’t have anyone I can stay with I don’t have anyone that can pick me up,” said Julie Lovenberg, a Victim Advocate for Vera House.

That’s why Vera House is now using ride sharing as a tool people like Czarny are a way out for victims. 

“If you need help, get help, and get yourself out of the situation that woman was incredibly brave to get out of the situation that she was getting out of, and taking care of her children and thats something that stuck with me,” Czarny said.

Czarny did end up refunding the woman for her ride and he has since raised about $500 on Facebook, all donated to Vera House.