Couple Says Uber Driver Left Woman Stranded On NYC Sidewalk While She Was In Labor, Still Charged Her $13

If there’s one time in your life when you could really use a lift somewhere, it’s got to be when you’re preparing to birth a human being. But can an Uber driver who may be adverse to transporting a person in labor just leave you hanging? That’s what happened to one couple in New York City, who say that after the pregnant woman vomited on the sidewalk, their driver refused to give them a ride to the hospital… and charged $13 for the privilege of being stranded.

The family is still peeved over the November incident, when the first-time parents were all ready to make the three-mile trip to the hospital after the woman went into labor, reports Fortune. The Uber driver arrived just in time to see the woman loose her cookies on the pavement. He told them he’d lose money if she became sick in the car, and said no other driver would accept a woman in labor as a passenger either. He left, despite the couple’s pleas, and charged them $13 for his lost time.

Uber eventually refunded the $13 after the couple complained, but the husband says he’s frustrated that the company initially wouldn’t acknowledge any wrongdoing by Uber or by the driver. He says that he asked Uber for more informaiton on the driver so he could pursue a complaint with NYC’s taxi regulator, and that a customer service rep refused (that info can be found in your emailed receipt, however).

Though the couple were able to hail another Uber and make it to the hospital in time and safely, the situation shouldn’t have happened in the first place: Uber frowns on the practice as a matter of policy, and New York city and state laws prohibit it.

An Uber spokesperson told Fortune that 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. 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,” the rep said, adding that whenever a rider reports discrimination, the company will investigate and, when warranted, remove that driver from its platform.

According to Emily Martin, general counsel of the National Women’s Law Center, it’s against the law in New York to discriminate against passengers in such a condition.

“Uber drivers are bound by the same public accommodation laws that prohibit New York City taxi drivers and car services from discriminating on the basis of pregnancy when deciding who they will pick up—and those laws are a good thing, as they help ensure that not many babies end up being born on New York City sidewalks,” Martin told Fortune.

The family is still upset over the situation — though the husband says he’s not blaming the company for one driver’s actions — but says Uber should have done more to address the situation.

“Uber should have clarified their policies on drivers and women in labor, and confirmed that the driver received appropriate disciplinary action,” he told Fortune. “I’m fortunate enough to know my rights and have access to resources, but I feel for the person who is not as lucky.”

Uber Driver Refuses To Pick Up Woman in Labor, Charges Her $13 [Fortune]

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