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‘How could you just abandon somebody like that?’: Blind woman stranded by Uber driver at wrong location


By Shaun Gallagher

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    RALEIGH, North Carolina (WRAL) — A blind Raleigh woman was put in a frightening situation this weekend after an Uber driver dropped her off at the wrong location – and left her there.

WRAL’s Shaun Gallagher spoke with the woman Monday, and she said it has her questioning everything.

Kamille Richardson said she was trying to go to a Verizon store to get a new phone. But when the Uber driver stopped, she could tell something wasn’t right.

As a blind woman, it’s important for Kamille Richardson to be able to do things on her own. Blind since birth, she has handled everything life has thrown her way… with one exception.

“I always said the only thing I cannot do is drive,” Richardson said.

For that, she relies on ride sharing services like Uber.

Sunday afternoon, she requested an Uber to drive her to the Verizon store.

Richardson said she has a note in her profile that she’s blind.

“Also I have a white cane, so it also lets people know that I am blind,” she said.

The driver walked her to a door, but she said she knew something wasn’t right.

“He says ‘oh, okay, we’re here. We’re at Verizon store,'” Richardson said. “So we get out, and we’re walking. And I say, ‘sir, are you sure? I don’t think we’re at the Verizon store.'”

Instead of being dropped off at the Verizon store, Richardson was at an apartment complex, more than a mile north of the store.

“And I say ‘this is not the right place,’ and he says, ‘well, I have somebody I gotta pick up at the airport,’ and he takes off and runs away,” Richardson said.

Richardson was left all alone at the wrong location – essentially, in the dark.

“I couldn’t even tell you what I was near,” she said. “I didn’t know the vicinity. He just dropped me and ran away.

“Now mind you, I’m still standing here at this random door. I have no idea where I am. And so I walk away from the door as fast as I can because again, I don’t I don’t know where I am. And this guy just left me standing there stranded, terrified.”

She said she ended up calling 911 for help. By the time police officers got to her, she said she was in tears.

“I had no idea where I was. And so the trauma of it all was a lot for me,” Richardson said. “And thank thank goodness for the police. They found me and they helped me get where I was trying to go, which was to that Verizon store.”

Richardson said when the police officers were driving her, they said she was a good five minutes away from the Verizon store.

“That is one of the scariest things I’ve ever been through,” she said. “How could you just abandon somebody like that knowing good and well that I was not in the right spot?

“I never felt as alone and as vulnerable as I did yesterday. It’s the first time where I really felt like my life can be in danger because I’m blind.”

Richardson said she trusts that people, like her Uber driver, will be honest with her.

“I’m putting my trust in someone, and I’m trusting that you’re going to tell me exactly where I am,” she said. “I’m trusting that you are not going to lie to me and insist that I’m somewhere that I know I’m not. I’m trusting you to have the decency and the humanity to help me out of the situation.”

Richardson, who is a business owner, said she’s always trying to spread awareness.

“I’m all about teaching about inclusion and how to create inclusive environments,” she said. “So I always am spreading awareness being that advocate for the blind or visually impaired and really people with disabilities in general.

“It happens to people all the time who are blind who have a disability. It happens to us all the time… my story is not the only story, and that’s why I’m doing this because I want to bring awareness to this issue. And I want Uber to take some sort of accountability.”

Aviance Brown, a local attorney, said she and Richardson want to hold Uber accountable so this doesn’t continue to happen.

“This is not the first time where folks with disabilities have been placed in a vulnerable situation,” Brown said. “It happens every day.”

Brown said they’re looking for Uber to make changes so people with disabilities are not put in vulnerable positions.

WRAL News reached out to Uber for comment on this situation, and a spokesperson provided the following response:

“Kamille’s experience is frustrating and we are continuing to investigate. We have been in contact with her and issued a refund for the trip.”

Richardson said she had plans to go out of town Monday, but this whole incident has her so shaken up that she pushed her plans back. She said she doesn’t feel comfortable hopping back into an Uber just yet.

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