COLUMBIA, S.C. - In the wake of the death of a university student who was killed after getting into a car she mistook for her Uber ride, a new safety campaign called #WhatsMyName is encouraging people to be vigilant before entering ride-hailing cars.
University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides wrote a letter to students Monday, asking them to be safe when using Uber or Lyft in honor of Samantha Josephson’s memory.
“In Samantha’s memory, I ask you to embrace a new pledge,” Pastides wrote. “That you will NEVER use a ride share service without doing the following: 1. Ensure the license plate, make, model and color of the vehicle match what's in your app and the driver matches the photo and name in the app; AND 2. Ask the driver "WHAT'S MY NAME?" If s/he doesn't say your name, DO NOT get into the vehicle.”
#WhatsMyName has subsequently been trending on Twitter as users, including Alpha Gamma Delta, Josephson’s sorority, spread the safety campaign.
To honor the memory of our sister Samantha Josephson, we join her father and University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides in urging others to ask drivers “What’s my name?” before entering any rideshare vehicle. View: https://t.co/14mzp6WovF. #WhatsMyName— Alpha Gamma Delta (@alphagammadelta) April 3, 2019
Josephson, a 21-year-old USC senior, was last seen alive early Thursday morning entering a black Chevrolet Impala outside a Columbia bar, according to previous Cox Media Group reports. Friends and family were unable to get in touch with her the following day.
Early Saturday, Josephson’s family confirmed that she had been found dead. Columbia police said in a press conference that they’ve arrested a suspect in Josephson’s death, 24-year-old Nathaniel David Rowland. It’s believed that Rowland was the driver of the Impala that Josephson mistakenly got into.
“She simply, mistakenly, got into the car thinking it was an Uber ride,” said Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook.