[NBC] A Florida family is pointing the finger at Uber after their 12-year-old daughter hailed a ride to a parking garage where she jumped to her death.
Benita Diamond died in January after she used her mother’s phone to request the ride to a garage in downtown Orlando. The seventh-grader walked to the top floor of the garage and jumped, leaving behind a note that said she “passed the point of no return,” according to NBC affiliate WESH in Orlando.
The girl’s parents, Lisha Chen and Ron Diamond, announced at a news conference Thursday that they believe their daughter would still be alive if the Uber driver had followed the company’s policy to decline a ride request if the passenger is under the age of 18 and is not accompanied by someone who is at least 18 years old.
The policy further states that drivers may request the passenger show identification or a driver’s license to prove they are not underage.
“If a rider is underage, please do not start the trip or allow them to ride,” the policy reads.WESH reached out to Uber on Thursday and was told by a company spokesperson that the matter had not been reported to them over the last six months. They said the company is investigating and “will take appropriate action.” Benita’s father said that if the driver had followed policy, “without a doubt our daughter would still be here.” The mother, Chen, said her daughter created an Uber account on Jan. 8 without her parents’ permission. Benita didn’t use the account until around 7:10 a.m. on Jan. 10 while her parents were still asleep. During the roughly 30-minute ride, the driver did not ask Benita how old she was or why she was riding by herself, Chen said at the news conference. “I believe that if the driver had questioned or followed the rules or denied the ride, my daughter would be here today,” she said. Uber did not immediately return NBC News’ request for comment. The family’s attorney, Mark NeJame, said at the news conference that Uber’s policy “means nothing if it’s not going to be enforced.”