It is every parent’s worst nightmare.
A college student mistakenly gets into a car which she thought was her Uber and the driver murders her. It is almost impossible to wrap your head around.
This is what happened to Samantha Josephson.
On the same night that this happened, I let my 18 year old daughter take an Uber home from Manhattan to New Jersey by herself for the first time.
She took the train in to meet the girl that will be her roommate for her freshman year in college. They had such a nice time that it became late and I was worried about her being on the train alone. I was also worried about her being in an Uber by herself but I believed it to be the lesser of two evils. She “shared” her ride with me so that I could see where she was and I also followed her trip through a separate app on my phone. She arrived safely.
It was the following evening when I heard the story of Samantha Josephson. My heart broke for her family. I also thought of my own daughter’s Uber trip the night before.
Samantha’s parents, still in shock and grieving more than anyone can imagine, bravely began speaking out about Uber/Lyft safety. I am in awe of the courage they have at this time. They want others to remember to ask their driver “What’s my name?” before getting into a car. I myself went over this with both of my daughters as soon as I heard about it, as I am sure most parents did.
These parents are beyond brave and selfless.They are taking the worst tragedy any of us could possibly imagine to bring awareness so that this does not happen to anyone else.
What I cannot fathom is that they are being criticized, and worse, people are actually blaming their daughter for being murdered. Last night, I read tons of comments which said that “their children would know better”.
Really? Seriously, what is wrong with people??
This smart, happy, loved, young woman made a mistake that anyone could make. She forgot to ask, “What’s my name?” and opened the door to the wrong car. It doesn’t matter if she was drinking, tired, absent-minded, distracted, or anything else. She most certainly did not deserve to be murdered for this. The fact that there are people who are putting the blame on her is the worst case of blaming the victim I have ever seen.
My own daughter’s ride on the very same night thankfully had a different outcome. She is still in high school and I know where she is and who she is with. I was able to follow her ride. But, four years from now, when she is a college senior like Samantha and out with her friends, I will no longer be able to track her every move. Samantha could have been any one of our children.
I believe that some blame the victim because it makes them feel safe. They think, “This would never happen to me because I am smarter than that person. I would never make THAT mistake.” Therefore, if you would not do the same thing, you are safe, right? I’m sorry but you might. And if not that mistake, it will be another one.
It is easy to sit back behind our computers and find fault with what others are doing. But a line must be drawn when we criticize an innocent girl whose life was taken for no reason. That is not okay in any way, shape or form.
Not only does my heart go out to Samantha’s parents, but I so admire them for starting #whatsmyname?Their selflessness in thinking of others at this time is so courageous. I, for one, will be happy to help spread the word for them.
Stacey Feintuch is a freelance writer who lives in northern New Jersey with her husband and two boys. And she’s Stacey with an E opposed to this site’s co-founder, Stacy.