Family blames Uber after 12-year-old took ride to parking garage and jumped to her death
A Florida family blames Uber for the death of their young daughter, news station KCCI reported. Despite the ride-sharing app's policy against transporting minors, an Uber driver accepted a ride request from 12-year-old Benita 'BB' Diamond. She rode alone to her destination in downtown Orlando, where she climbed to the top of a nine-story parking garage and jumped to her death.
The incident occurred in the middle of the night on January 10. While her parents were asleep, Benita reportedly downloaded the app on her mother's unlocked phone and used a Christmas gift card to pay for the ride. Her father Ronald Diamond told the Orlando Sentinel she left behind a letter stating she was "past the point of no return," and noted how easy it was to call the ride on Uber.
"If Uber had followed their policy, without a doubt, our daughter would still be here," Mr. Diamond said at a press conference on Thursday. "Uber took my daughter past the point of no return. Nobody else did. We didn’t."
“This will happen to another child or teenager if I don’t do anything right now, if I don’t make sure Uber, or Lyft or any share-ride company enforces their policy," Benita's mother Lisha Chen told reporters. "They have a policy in place, but if they don’t enforce it, it’s useless."
The family held the press conference behind a row of cardboard boxes displaying photographs of their beloved daughter. Both parents fought back tears while speaking, and the father periodically touched a pink stone hanging around his neck, which holds Benita's ashes. They say the driver never questioned Benita's age and demand changes to how Uber and other ride-sharing companies operate so other families do not suffer similar tragedies.
"As a driver-partner, you should decline the ride request if you believe the person requesting the ride is under 18," the guidelines on Uber's website state. "When picking up riders, if you feel they are underage, you may request they provide a driver’s license or ID card for confirmation. If a rider is underage, please do not start the trip or allow them to ride."
An Uber spokesperson said they received no report about this matter over the last six months, but are conducting an investigation and will take appropriate action, according to KCCI. The Diamond family are considering filing a lawsuit.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article, contact Your Life Your Voice on 1-800-448-3000, or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline on 1-800-273-8255.