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Uber driver arrested, my 76yo dad left on the street at 1am
25 points by cft 162 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 27 comments
Ask HN: Called Uber for my 76 yo sick father, the driver got arrested for suspended license. My dad was left on the street at 1am. Had to rescue him. Their response: trip refund. Any way to publicize this incident?

Why not call another Uber or Lyft?

"Their response: trip refund. Any way to publicize this incident?"

Sorry, but you sound like the kind of person that would start acting like your spine broke from a minor bumper to bumper accident, and try to sue for all kinds of crazy things.

Call 'em as I see 'em!

Father had two cancer surgeries. Would be no big deal for me

Still doesn't change the fact that another Uber / Lyft would have showed up in minutes. I still don't understand your reasoning for wanting to publicize this.

There's nothing to publicize.

He called totally disoriented, not knowing where he was. I had to figure that out, had him to take pictures of the street signs, before I could call another Lyft. The drop-off was incorrect on the app. I think you have not dealt with sick elderly people enough.

ok, I suppose if he was dropped off at a random location, it is a bit concerning.

I think the police should have handled this though, it's not really Uber at fault here.

Why didn't the police help your dad? Just left him stranded...

You really don't think that Uber should do any background check, such as whether their drivers have suspended license?

The license could have been suspended after the driver had passed Uber's background check.

I don't believe you expect uber to run background checks every week/month on tens of thousands of drivers.

And most states don't have an API to run periodic driver license checks

I'm totally anti-Uber, but this could have happened with a taxi too. Actually, it is not strange (at least here where I live) for taxi drivers to do illegal stuff while driving the city.

And although I understand the OP situation, his "problem" is with society, not Uber. Shit happens.

To be honest, if he was that disoriented it sounds like your dad should have been calling 911 and not Uber. I have no idea how you could expect anything short of an ambulance with trained medical personnel to provide the requisite support that a mentally incapacitated cancer patient may require.

It might be better to ask what you had expected the outcome in this scenario to be?

Wait, your father had 2 surgeries and he had to take his own ride home? This seems really strange to me.

I had minor wisdom teeth removal surgery and my dentist told me I needed someone to come pick me up; no Uber, no taxi.

You could write a gripping, detailed blog post, post it to HN, hope it makes the front page. It worked for Susan Fowler (though I don't know if she posted her own writing here -- probably didn't -- and that is no doubt a very flippant, somewhat inaccurate framing of what happened with her blog post, which likely got a lot more traffic than just from HN).

If you do choose to publicize this, be aware that a lot of people will want an extremely good justification for why his family wasn't there for him to begin with before they will care what Uber did or did not do. Wanting publicity can be a case of "be careful what you wish for."

Just email a journalist from BuzzFeed, send him/her some proofs, tweet him, and it might be a big story there. Go Google to see if anyone has written Uber-related stories there

I totally understand your concern. But, what did you expect Uber to do instead? A driver driving with a suspended license was the driver's fault. Not Uber's (if it was recently suspended). Not yours, but Uber/anybody could expect that you checked if the license of the driver was valid before starting the trip, but that's pretty uncommon.

If your father was sick and if he's 76 and has cancer, you could have as well accompanied him, right? Or had someone accompany him. Even if you publicise, there's a higher chance that it would be seen as you being careless.

I don't really have a dog in this race but it would seem reasonable for there to be a process whereby if a driver cannot continue there is an automatic way for uber to pick the passenger up and take them to their destination as part of the service. I would probably expect such a thing simply because it feels like the most reasonable thing to happen next.

> "if a driver cannot continue there is an automatic way for uber to pick the passenger up and take them to their destination"

Agreed! This makes me think there are also other reasons for a driver to stop a trip in the middle — especially when there's emergency. This shouldn't be a one-off issue. Just wondering why Uber hasn't thought about allowing drivers to mark an emergency. Not sure if the driver app has it already.

> Just wondering why Uber hasn't thought about allowing drivers to mark an emergency.

They do on the customer side, automatically. I had a driver stop me slightly short of my destination (too much traffic for the next two blocks, he suggested we end the ride to save a bit of money), and the Uber app prompted me with a big dialog "Is there a problem with your ride? Please tell us if you require immediate assistance." Completely different from the 5 star rating screen - the tone was clearly a way to discreetly report a serious issue with the driver via one or two taps.

Maybe the app has changed since then (that would have been mid-2016), but I do remember being impressed by that part of the Uber app.

(Edit: I can't find screenshots of this feature anywhere. I'm certain it happened to me, but since I can't provide proof, feel free to regard this as just a random pro-Uber anecdote from someone on the internet.)

I think that the part about your father is an unfortunate event that ended well. Therefore, with all due respect, I don't think that's a story.

On the other hand, the media is frothy about Uber, and when the media covets a subject, editorial discretion often changes a little.

Consequently, you might have a story about Uber drivers driving around with suspended licenses. If you found a few journalists with a history of being hypercritical of Uber, you could pitch a pretty solid "what if" story.

For example, how do cab companies deal with suspended licenses? Do they have a greater (or lesser) burden to keep their drivers properly licensed?

Or, what happens if an Uber driver with a suspended license causes an accident that leads to injuries? Where is liability? What is an injured party to do? Is there any way that the Uber passenger could have liability?

The short answer is:

If you really want to publicize this you likely can because the media is frothy about Uber now. If an Uber executive had bad gas, you could find a reporter who would salivate for the coverage.

To publicize it:

1.) Zero in on a good story. The media does not want to be your personal hit squad.

2.) Research two or three reporters with a history of negative coverage about Uber.

3.) Write a personalized pitch to each reporter. Reference past articles that he/she has written. Don't use the word exclusive unless you know what that means. (Hint - if you send a pitch to three journalists, it isn't exclusive.)

4.) Be prepared for this to get way the fuck out of control.

> If an Uber executive had bad gas, you could find a reporter who would salivate for the coverage.

Ain't that the truth.

You mean the police just left your sick old dad on the side of the street? Heartless Bastards.....You think they would have called him a cab.

Sounds more like a police screw up than Uber! Also you probably shouldn't entrust incapacitated people to an uber you're calling for them. (ie. you are partly to blame here.)

I have zero love for Uber, but it seems to me that this one is on the cops more than Uber.

Hire a writer to write a heart-breaking blog post and post it on HN, then hope it gets to front page. If it happens make sure to delete this post.

Rest will be done by itself.

When Uber isn't in the news for sexual harassment or for conflict of interests with companies like Google, it usually fights against cities, countries and governments. Their CEO is on a forced 3 months leave he has been kicked out.

It sad to say but your incident is invisible.

Just curious why I can't downvote the comments on this thread?

What do you expect?

Police chase. Ridiculous that they would let a fare go unfinished when they fully realized they would be arrested if they pulled over at the first sign of flashing lights.

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