Uber Driver Abandons Laboring Mom, Still Charges Her

by Ashley Austrew

This Uber driver refused a ride to a woman in labor.

Imagine you’re pregnant, living in a big city, and need a cab to take you to the hospital, but you can’t get one. It’s a “worst nightmare” scenario for many expectant parents, but it became a reality for David Lee and his laboring wife when a New York City Uber driver refused to drive them to the hospital because he was worried about dirtying his car. Seriously.

According to Fortune, Lee’s wife went into labor early, and they’d ordered an Uber car, called their labor coach, and packed up an overnight bag. They met the car at the curb for their three-mile ride to the hospital, but then the laboring woman threw up on the sidewalk and the driver refused to take them. Lee says the driver told them he’d “lose $1,000 a day” if someone threw up in his car, then he charged them $13 for wasting his time, and drove away.

Luckily, the Lees were able to summon another Uber whose driver wasn’t such a dick, and they made it to the hospital, where they delivered a healthy baby boy. Uber refunded the couple their $13, but the company obnoxiously refused to disclose the information of the driver who left them stranded so they could file a complaint with New York’s taxi regulator. Uber cited their driver privacy policy, which doesn’t really make sense since the policy states:

“Subject to all applicable laws, Uber may provide to a third party any information (including personal data and any Uber Data) about Drivers provided hereunder if: (a) there is a complaint, dispute or conflict, including an accident, relating to a Driver.”

The policy goes on for a few more bullet points that don’t really apply to this situation, but then it says Uber can also disclose driver information to a third party in order to “prevent or stop activity” which Uber considers to “pose a risk of being, illegal, unethical, or legally actionable.” Considering Uber told Fortune that denying service to a person in labor goes against their code of conduct, and, as Fortune points out, city and state laws in New York forbid drivers from refusing women in labor, it seems like Uber’s privacy policy really shouldn’t apply here.

This isn’t the first time Uber has been the subject of public ire over their poor business practices. On New Year’s Eve, many were angered by their “surge pricing,” which is basically just a fancy way of saying they price gouge people during busy times. There have also been other complaints of mistreatment by drivers, including several serious sexual harassment accusations. Somehow Uber just keeps passing the buck and treating people like garbage.

What happened to the Lees is completely unacceptable and made an already stressful situation — labor — even more difficult. The driver who refused them shouldn’t be protected by any sort of policy. He should be out of a job for discriminating against a pregnant woman and leaving a person stranded during an emergency situation. Obviously not every Uber driver would behave so despicably, but this one did, and the company should take responsibility for that.

H/T Refinery29