How a female trucker influencer got stuck in Dubai due to an argument with a rental car agent

Tierra Allen told ABC News she feared "jail time or prison."

August 16, 2023, 2:02 PM

Tierra Allen, an influencer known by her followers and fans as the "Sassy Trucker," is back home in the U.S. after she was stuck in Dubai for months.

"It was very scary for me because I didn't know at times if I was going to face jail time or go to prison," Allen told "Good Morning America." "They just stripped me of my passport. I couldn't go anywhere."

The 29-year-old Houston-based content creator documents her life as a trucker and shares videos of her travels across the world with her more than 180,000 followers on TikTok.

What started with a fender bender quickly escalated to the point where Allen feared she would end up in prison.

Allen said police held her passport and banned her from leaving the United Arab Emirates following a dispute at a rental car agency, after an accident while she was on vacation in May.

VIDEO: TikTok influencer speaks out about her time stuck in Dubai

The car was allegedly impounded by the agency following the accident with her passport and credit cards inside, and when Allen went to retrieve her belongings, she claimed the agency told her she had to pay a fee first.

"They told me that if I wanted my belongings, that I need to go to the rental car agency to get them. And that's what I did -- from there, things kind of just transpired into something really big that ... wasn't expected," she said.

After a dispute over the alleged fees, Allen claimed an employee at the rental car company "followed me outside and told me he was calling the cops on me for shouting at him and he shouted at me -- and I said, 'OK, you can call the cops.'"

Days later, Allen says she was arrested and held in jail for one day for "shouting" at the employee, against which the UAE has strict rules. Under Emirati law, publicly insulting another person is punishable by up to one year in prison and a large fine.

"I was shocked. I was nervous. I was scared [and] didn't know what to do," she said.

In a statement to the Associated Press in July, the Dubai Police said they "received a complaint from a car rental office, accusing [Allen] of slandering and defaming an employee amidst a dispute over car rental fees" and that they questioned and "... subsequently released [Allen] pending the resolution of ongoing legal proceedings between her and the car rental office."

Police typically issue such travel bans while they investigate an incident and determine whether to forward the matter to prosecutors, according to the AP.

Tierra Allen, left, is welcomed home after said she was stuck in Dubai after a dispute at a rental car agency.

The influencer spent the next three months in a hotel while her family and Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas worked to help clear Allen's travel ban.

"The State Department is used to be able to help Americans make their way through these different rules. But as a woman, she was treated differently. And that's what I had to work through," Lee claimed, speaking to "GMA."

Allen's mom ultimately paid $1,360 to the rental car agency to get her daughter's passport back and said, "I felt like there was hope, finally, that my daughter would return home."

Allen said she is uncertain whether she will face any charges moving forward, as she said the case is still pending.

She said she is appreciative of the efforts by both her family and Lee.

"It feels absolutely amazing. I enjoy the freedom. I appreciate all the hard work I've done for me, and I'm very excited to be back in the USA," she said.