- A family in Florida says their daughter used the Uber app to take a ride to a parking garage in Orlando where she jumped to her death.
- Uber prohibits unaccompanied minors, but drivers say kids under 18 are a massive problem on the platform.
- Many Uber drivers have told Business Insider that minors are a major problem on the platform, and that some drivers will take the rides even though they’re against company policy.
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories
Uber expressly prohibits drivers from picking up unaccompanied minors.
If a Florida driver had followed those rules in January a 12-year-old girl would still be alive, her family says.
The Orlando Sentinel reported Thursday that the family of Benita “BB” Diamond is blaming Uber for their daughter’s death earlier this year. They say the girl used her mother’s phone to download the ride-hailing app, in which she used a prepaid gift card to request a ride 20 miles to downtown Orlando around 7 a.m. one morning.
After climbing to the top of the City Commons Parking Garage, she jumped to her death, her family says.
“I have her ashes in my necklace pendant here and that’s all I have left of her unfortunately,” the girl’s mother, Lisha Chen, said at a press conference on Thursday. Video of the statement was published by the local news channel WESH.
An Uber spokesperson told Business Insider that the company was not aware of the issue until this week, despite the incident occurring six months ago, but is investigating in order to take appropriate action.
“If Uber had followed their policy, that would have been the one red flag that we would have caught,” her father said at the press conference.
Unaccompanied minors, while prohibited from using the app, are a massive problem on Uber’s platform, many drivers have told Business Insider. The company says that if a driver reports an underaged rider, the company will investigate the account holder and possibly ban them from the app.
“I’m increasingly getting pinged by parents to pick up their high school and junior high kids, which is against the rules,” Jamie, a driver in Phoenix who asked that his last name not be published for privacy reasons, told Business Insider. “Most people do not know that you have to be 18 to ride in an Uber alone. When I turn the student down and tell them I can’t take them, they just keep trying until they find a driver who does not care.”
Benita’s family has hired a law firm and is considering legal action against Uber.
“If she’d been asked, where’s your mom and dad? We believe she would’ve been here,” attorney Laura Douglas said at the press conference.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.