12-year-old girl takes Uber alone to Orlando parking garage at midnight and jumps to her death, family blames Uber for taking a minor 20 miles away
In January this year, 12-year-old Benita 'BB' Diamond ordered an Uber, made her way to a parking garage in Orlando, and jumped to her death from the roof of the building.
Lisha Chen and Ronald Diamond, her parents, are now demanding the ride service company to strictly enforce policies barring drivers from transporting unaccompanied minors or face legal action, Daily Mail reports.
Benita's family addressed a press conference in the Orlando suburb of Lake Nona in the presence of their attorney Laura Douglas. They were surrounded by blown-up portraits of their late daughter.
"We all know bad things happen when kids get in cars with strangers without their parent’s consent," Douglas said.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Benita downloaded the Uber app on her mother's phone on the night of January 10 and logged into an account she had previously created. She then hired a cab to pick her up from a vacant lot in the Lake Nona subdivision and paid for the ride using a gift card she received for Christmas.
Douglas said the driver transported the 12-year-old girl to downtown Orlando 20 miles away without inquiring about her age or where her parents were. Fox 35 reported the driver did not speak a word of English, Chen later learned.
The Uber dropped Benita off outside the City Commons Parking Garage, where she made her way to the terrace of the nine-story building and plunged to her death.
Diamond, a devastated father, said Benita had left behind a note saying she was stunned at how easy it was to travel in an Uber and said she was expecting "more of a hassle."
In conclusion, she wrote she was on her way to downtown Orlando and was "past the point of no return."
"Uber took my daughter past the point of no return," Diamond said. "Nobody else did."
According to the parents, they may have had more time to notice "red flags" and save their child had the driver refused to pick their daughter up.
However, six months have passed since her death and they still don't know why the straight-As student and gifted pianist decided to end her life.
According to company policy, Uber account holders must be at least 18 years old or be accompanied by an adult to ride in their vehicles.
During the emotional press conference, Chen and Diamond insisted they are not interested in a payout from the ride-sharing company, but rather want to prevent similar incidents by effecting real change.
"This will happen to another child or teenager if I don’t do anything right now, if I don’t make sure Uber, or Lyft or any share-ride company enforces their policy," Chen said. "They have a policy in place, but if they don’t enforce it, it’s useless."
The incident had not been reported to the company in the last six months, per a spokesperson for the company. However, they are no investigating the same and will take steps to prevent future mishaps.
If you need confidential help or advice, you must contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255.