Black Mother And Daughter Say White Uber Driver Called Them 'N****rs' And Refused To Let Them Out Of Car
Jovene Milligan recalled reaching for her concealed firearm in fear of her and her daughter's lives.
May 12, 2021 at 10:05 pm
A Black woman and her daughter filed a lawsuit against an Uber driver and the ridesharing company this week after they said the driver repeatedly referred to them as "n****rs."
Mother’s Day weekend, South Carolina resident Jovene Milligan and her 30-year-old daughter Ghiana Gardner took a 59-mile trip in an Uber they described as a horrid experience that left them fearing for their safety, The State reports.
The mother and daughter duo were heading to Charleston from Atlanta for the weekend when their car broke down in Aiken, South Carolina. After contacting AAA, they were told they couldn't ride in the tow truck due to COVID-19 safety protocols, forcing them to call an Uber.
The driver, who was identified as Daniel, asked about the women’s origins after stating that his family hailed from Great Britain. When Milligan and Gardner referred to themselves as African queens, the driver started on a racist rant, repeatedly calling the women the N-word and driving recklessly. The women managed to record the incident on their phones during the ride.
After asking several times to be let out of the vehicle, the driver repeatedly refused.
“I was constantly monitoring his GPS to make sure we were still in route even though he wouldn’t let us out,” Milligan told news station WCBD.
The State reported that the white driver also referred to himself as an N-word during the ride.
Milligan and Gardner said he demanded that Black riders call him “the Uber Goober,” and white passengers call him “Uber Dan.”
When he dropped them off at the Jaguar dealership in Columbia, South Carolina, they said the rideshare driver threw out their bags from his Volkswagen and then yelled, “You n****rs" aren’t welcome in Aiken!”
On Monday, the two women filed the lawsuit with the San Francisco Superior Court. Attorney Sean Wilson, who represents Milligan and Gardner, said the goal of the lawsuit is to encourage Uber to invest more into safety measures that protect riders.
“We want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anybody else. People deserve to be respected and get to their destination safely,” Wilson said.
The women are seeking at least $5 million each in damages and are suing the ridesharing company for negligent hiring. They are also suing the driver for a number of charges that include: assault, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
“It was traumatic. It still is traumatic. I’m literally waking up every morning just crying because I just think about all the different ways it could have went,” Milligan, 52, said in an interview.
After evaluating footage of the incident, Uber officials said the company has now banned the driver from accessing the app.
“Everyone has a right to feel safe when using the Uber platform and what these riders experienced is extremely upsetting,” an Uber representative said via email. “We have a clear non-discrimination policy and we have removed this driver’s access to the app.”
Milligan offered a potential remedy to Uber's apparent issue, suggesting the rideshare company mandate a camera is active in the vehicle when drivers are out on rides.