Uber driver refused to drive pregnant woman to the hospital, but charged her $13 anyway

He is now in the running for Biggest Jerk of 2016.


Jam Kotenko


Published Jan 15, 2016   Updated May 27, 2021, 8:56 am CDT

Imagine you’re a pregnant lady experiencing contractions in the middle of the hustle-and-bustle of New York City. You need to get to the hospital as soon as humanly possible, and you are not about to take the subway or the bus. What’s your next best option?

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You’d think an Uber ride would probably get you where you need to go with as little hassle as possible, but one woman had the opposite experience when an Uber driver decided to ditch her. Not only that, he also had the nerve to bill her $13 for a trip that never took place.

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The Uber driver reportedly arrived at the location of the customer, who was waiting with her husband and birthing coach, and found her vomiting on the side of the road. Rather than provide her and her companions with the transportation assistance he agreed to via the Uber app, he informed her that he would not be giving her a ride to the emergency room because the risk of her getting sick in his car would cost him $1000. He then drove off and charged her $13 for his trouble.

All this sounds despicable to be sure, but unfortunately, the Uber app does not offer a fool-proof way of confirming a requested ride was actually fulfilled, only the driver’s clean conscience can stop him or her from tapping the button on the Uber app that completes a request and generates a charge for the ride.

This sordid tale ends with both good news and bad. Although the original driver allegedly informed the trio that no other Uber driver would accept a woman in labor as passenger, the second ride they requested went through without a hitch and was able to get them to the hospital right on time to deliver a healthy baby boy. The previous erroneous charge of $13 was also refunded, but not without incident.

According to the woman’s husband, Uber initially refused to take responsibility for the mishap and would not provide the couple with the offending driver’s information that would allow them to file an official complaint, citing a privacy policy. “I don’t blame Uber for one driver’s poor actions since bad apples can appear in any organization,” David Lee, the husband of the woman in question, told Fortune. “But I do think that when a company has a culture of bullying their way past laws and regulations, as Uber seems to do, they begin to think they can act with impunity in anything.”

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Uber eventually apologized for the incident and promised to take necessary action, but only after the story gained significant traction online. “Denying service to a passenger in labor is unacceptable: it goes against our code of conduct and the standard of service our riders rely on,” an Uber spokesperson told Fortune. “We are glad that the rider’s next driver was professional and courteous.”

H/T zap2it | Photo via (PD)

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*First Published: Jan 15, 2016, 2:35 pm CST