An Uber driver refused to take a woman in labour to the hospital, instead he left her standing on a New York sidewalk.
According to Fortune, the woman, who chose to be unnamed in the report, went into labour early, so grabbed her husband, an overnight bag and her smart phone and summoned an Uber to her Manhattan apartment.
The Uber arrived quickly but, after witnessing the woman vomit in the street, the driver informed the couple he would not be taking them, on the grounds that it would cost him a $1000 a day if she was sick in his car.
To add insult to injury, he then charged them $13 for wasting his time.
The couple ordered another Uber and were taken to the hospital where the woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy a few hours later, but the incident has left them disillusioned with the ride-sharing service.
Taxis are not the ideal mode of transport for those in labour:
“I don’t blame Uber for one driver’s poor actions, since bad apples can appear in any organisation,” the woman’s husband, lawyer David Lee, 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.”
The company responded to Lee’s complaint by refunding the $13 and distanced itself from the driver’s actions in a written statement:
“Denying service to a passenger in labour is unacceptable: it goes against our code of conduct and the standard of service our riders rely on. We extend our deepest apologies to both riders and have taken action to respond to this complaint. We are glad that the rider’s next driver was professional and courteous.”
Uber drivers are bound by the same laws that prevent New York City taxi drivers and other car services from discriminating on the basis of pregnancy when deciding who they’ll pick up.
Lee questioned whether the company is doing enough to educate its drivers on their legal responsibilities.
“Uber should have clarified their policies on drivers and women in labour, and confirmed that the driver received appropriate disciplinary action,” Lee said.
“I’m fortunate enough to know my rights and have access to resources, but I feel for the person who is not as lucky.”