She was my age. She did something that I have done countless times. However, she did not return home.
Samantha Josephson, a senior at the University of South Carolina, was tragically kidnapped and murdered last week. The scary part is that this is something that could happen to any of us.
After going out with friends, she called an Uber to take her home. When a black car pulled up, she got inside the vehicle, believing that it was her Uber ride. But it wasn't.
The amount of times my friends and I have gone up to cars and said, "Hello, is this ride for Julia?" frightens me. I mean, what is the person going to say? How can I trust his or her answer anyway?
We need to start being more cautious. Instead of asking who the ride is for, you can simply ask the driver his or her name instead. Make sure the name matches the name in your app. Make sure the car is the same model. Make sure the license plate is identical. Make sure that you are sure because it is better to be safe rather than sorry.
The news does not shy away from these types of stories. We hear about kidnappings and murders far too often. However, this story seemed to resonate with me because she was like any other college student. There are thousands upon thousands of college students who go out and probably mistake other drivers for their Uber driver.
While these situations do not always result in danger, the point is that they very well can.
Even if you do check the person's name, the car model, and the license plate, it is so much safer if you are with a friend.
I know how it feels though. I hate going out and leaving early, dragging one of my friends home with me. I hate feeling like a burden, interrupting someone else's fun night.
But please take someone with you.
There will be more fun nights to come. There will be more bar crawls, more birthday parties, and more memories to make.
So please take someone with you. I promise, you will not be an inconvenience for them, even if you feel like it in the moment.
This murder case is the scariest thing I have read about in a while. It is horrifying how such an honest mistake can lead to such a dangerous, life-threatening, or deadly outcome.
Please take caution. Not just after the sun sets, but at all times of the day. Please take caution because you never think it will happen to you. But that's what everyone thinks. Please take caution because there are some awful, awful people in this world.
This murder case is extremely unfortunate and my heart breaks for the family.
All we can do from here is learn from everything that has happened.