A 12-Year-Old Died By Suicide After Taking An Uber To An Empty Parking Garage, Family Now Fighting For Change
In January, 12-year-old Benita "BB" Diamond downloadedone her mother's phone while she was asleep. Then, she hailed a ride, and went to a closed parking garage, where she died by suicide.
She paid for the ride with a gift card she got for Christmas, her parents said during a press conference Thursday, CBS affiliate WKMG reported.
Now, Benita's parents are demanding Uber takes action. Lisha Chen and Ronald Diamond said that the ride-sharing company should have done more to prevent their daughter from arriving at the secluded location in the middle of the night.
"In her letter she said ... that she thought she would get more hassle getting an Uber ride," Diamond said, referring to Benita's suicide note. "The second thing she said is basically that 'I'm past the point of no return now.' Uber took my daughter past the point of no return, they drove her there."
Benita jumped to her death from a parking garage located behind Orlando's City Hall. The trip occurred despite Uber's age guidelines, which dictate that drivers should check IDs of riders they perceive to be underage.
Uber's policy prohibits drivers from providing service to unattended minors. According to Laura Douglas, the family's attorney, the driver never questioned Benita's age.
"As a driver-partner, you should decline the ride request if you believe the person requesting the ride is under 18," Uber's website reads. "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."
The family has not filed a lawsuit. They are hoping Uber changes its policies to be more effective, and are not interested in financial compensation.
"They feel very strongly about what happened and the No. 1 goal is to work with the company or litigate against it, if need be," Douglas said. "They have this generic policy against transporting children, but when you compare that rule with other driver rules, it's kind of meaningless because the other rules have clearly defined penalties."
Benita's parents said their daughter was a bright, happy girl who got good grades in school, was an accomplished pianist and excelled at Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Months after her death, they still don't know why she jumped.
An Uber spokesperson told CBS News Saturday that the death was not reported to the company over the last six months. Uber is currently investigating the incident. When the company receives reports of underage riders, drivers and account holders could lose access to the app, the spokesperson said.