Recently, a USC student, Samantha Josephson, lost her life after getting into a car that she had thought was her Uber. Her friends were worried when they realized she never made it home and they couldn't get a hold of her. Her body was soon found. As a college student myself, and an avid Uber user, this story absolutely terrified me and has been running around my mind since I read the news story and watched the clips of her getting into the car.
Think of how often you call an Uber or a Lyft, whether it's in broad daylight because you are heading to get groceries or late at night heading home from a bar. Often, I try my best not to Uber alone, but sometimes that isn't the case if I am going back to my own apartment after a night out with my boyfriend (who always walks me to my Uber and calls me on the way so he knows I make it back safe). But unfortunately, not everyone has that luxury. And yes, unfortunately, just that one small thing he does is a luxury.
Uber has been around for a few years now but does not do enough to ensure the safety of both the driver and the passenger. Background checks are not extensive, or non-existent. Too many people are attacked, abducted, raped, or murdered by using a simple service to get to their personal destination. And being a woman especially, makes me, and others, that much more likely to experience this fate.
I am so deeply upset and terrified for Samantha, other victims, and myself. For when I step in an Uber, I put myself at risk. I keep going back to what I imagine she must have been thinking when she realized what would happen. The fear that must have consumed her wholly from the minute she knew things were wrong. The things she would have wanted to tell her loved ones. The way her life should have played out.
Watching the video of her stepping into what she thought was her Uber still give me chills and make me want to throw up. At that moment, her fate was sealed. I am so utterly heartbroken.
So from here on out, I will share my ride with my friends. I will sit in the backseat. I will stay on the phone with friends when I get in the ride. I will not ride drunk. I will not Uber alone. I will check the license plate of the car. I will be aware of my surroundings. I will avoid Ubers at all cost if possible.
I will ask "who are you picking up?" instead of saying "is this for Katie?".