COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – A female cab driver was kidnapped in broad daylight on New Years Day. After being held at knifepoint by her kidnapper, later identified as Saiveon Small, threatened not only her life, but the life of her unborn child. In a WRBL News 3 exclusive she opens up about the traumatic experience.
WRBL has elected to withhold the identity of the driver for her own safety.
This cab driver turned a tragic story into something inspiring as she fought for her own life and her unborn baby’s. She says her little girl is the reason she was able to find the strength to push through a nearly five hour long journey that took her from Columbus all the way to North Georgia with her kidnapper.
She started the first day of 2023, like any other day in her normal routine driving for Catch a Cab.
“I started it the same way I start every day. I got my cab. I checked to make sure the oil was good.”Kidnapped Cab Driver
Just after noon, she picked up a customer who wanted to be taken to Victory Drive. As they neared Victory Drive, he gave her directions to head north on 185. She says customers being on specific about their final destination isn’t completely out of the ordinary.
“It wasn’t really abnormal until we started heading and we passed the Smith Road exit. So I started kind of getting the feeling like maybe he would run and wouldn’t pay his fare.”Kidnapped Cab Driver
That’s when the 30-year-old cab driver alerted the cab company’s dispatch, something that would end up saving her life.
“So if you could just listen out for me in case any police assistance in case he ran. That’s what really what I thought he was going to do.”Kidnapped Cab Driver
It took a turn for the worse when they passed a patrol officer. Her then customer became her kidnapper.
“And he was like No, I’m telling you, it just better not be for us. And at that point is when I got the sinking feeling. That, of course. I should have never let him back in my car.”Kidnapped Cab Driver
The patrol officer they passed pulled over another vehicle. In that moment, the driver says she wished it was her as she felt she was no longer in control. She knew she had to do something.
“I was like, all right. You’re going to have to tell me where we’re going or I’m going to pull over. You’re going to have to pay me and get out. You’re making me feel really uncomfortable. And at that point, he grabbed his bag that was sitting next to him and pulled out a switchblade. And told me he was getting out. He was not paying for his ride. I could just drive. And so I drove.”Kidnapped Cab Driver
On the windshield visor of the ‘Catch A Cab’ taxi sat sonogram photos of the driver’s unborn child. For the first time mother, in that moment her safety wasn’t her first priority, but her baby girls.
As she neared the Georgia-Tennessee border, her gas tank became closer to empty. She told Small she needed gas and it was there in Ringgold, Georgia. She parked and pleaded for help inside of a gas station.
“As soon as I made it into the store. I went up to the attendant and I told him, I need you to lock your doors and call 911. And within like 5 minutes, every cop that had been looking for me was there.”Kidnapped Cab Driver
The first time, mother walked away okay. She credits her strength to her baby girl, knowing she would do anything to protect her.
Small will make an appearance in a Columbus courtroom Tuesday morning.