Children

Mother Arrested for Letting Child Take Lyft to School

A New Orleans rapper is charged with child desertion after letting her five-year-old son take a Lyft by himself to school.

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A New Orleans rapper has been arrested on child desertion charges because she sent her 5-year-old kid to school via Lyft.

On Tuesday, the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office announced on Facebook that they'd arrested 27-year-old Reiona Oliver (stage name "GameOva Reedy") after Oliver summoned a Lyft to her home to take her child to school eight miles away.

The Lyft driver, after realizing Oliver would not be accompanying her son, immediately drove him to a police station to report his mother. Oliver was arrested later that day.

Oliver, in a now deleted Instagram video, reportedly said that she sent her son to school by himself because she was not feeling well and that she didn't see anything wrong with leaving him with a Lyft driver.

Lyft has a policy against drivers picking up unaccompanied minors, so it sounds like Oliver violated the company's terms of service. But arresting her for this is ludicrous.

Firstly, if the driver was so opposed to taking Oliver's son on an unaccompanied ride to school, it would have been far less of a hassle for everyone if he or she had just refused to take the child in the first place.

Obviously, the boy was not in danger from riding in a car with this particularly over-concerned driver. Taking him to a police station didn't make the child safer; it only escalated what should have been a routine trip to school into a criminal matter.

It was also an absurd overreaction to charge Oliver with child desertion. Louisiana law defines child desertion as "the intentional or criminally negligent exposure of a child under the age of ten years…to a hazard or danger against which the child cannot reasonably be expected to protect himself, or the desertion or abandonment of such child, knowing or having reason to believe that the child could be exposed to such hazard or danger."

Clearly there was no danger in this case from this particular Lyft driver. And while rideshare drivers do occasionally commit crimes against their passengers, that's an incredibly rare phenomenon. An exhaustive CNN review of assaults by rideshare drivers found only 103 such cases. The victims, more often than not, were intoxicated women travelling alone, not children.

Rideshare apps also allow realtime monitoring of a ride, as well as identifying information about the driver. (In the very few cases where minors have been victimized by their Uber or Lyft driver, these apps proved crucial in identifying the perpetrator.) Indeed, rideshare companies exist that cater specifically to giving rides to unaccompanied children.

If allowing kids to take rideshare cars by themselves counts as a "hazard or danger," a lot of other mundane activities would have to get added to that category as well.

In short, Oliver's case is yet another example of how a routine activity involving a minor who was never in any danger can become a criminal matter. All it takes is overwrought concerns and overly aggressive enforcement.

NEXT: Her Ex Was the Wanted Man. So Why Did This Mom Spend Easter Weekend in Jail?

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  1. Firstly, if the driver was so opposed to taking Oliver’s son on an unaccompanied ride to school, it would have been far less of a hassle for everyone if he or she had just refused to take the child in the first place.

    According to the article:

    According to authorities, the driver told Oliver that he could not take the child unaccompanied by an adult. However, the woman went back into the home and did not return, the driver told investigators.

    So now, what does the driver do? Does he physically order the kid out of the car? Just leave the five-year old outside? What if the kid won’t budge?

    The driver is really in a no-win situation here.

    Also, self-driving cars will never take off if you can’t put un-accompanied minors in them

    1. Yeah, after reading that part, I’d say the driver did the right thing. Take the kid to school and the driver’s subject to termination, kick the kid out unaccompanied and the driver’s subject to liability for the child’s well-being, engage the parent at her door after already having explained the situation and the driver’s subject to altercation or worse.

      Arresting the parent seems a bit extreme, but what an idiot.

      1. The driver may have made himself subject to termination already by taking the unaccompanied minor to the the police station.

        He may also have made himself subject to criminal penalties (kidnapping) by taking the child somewhere other than where the parent expected him to be taken.

        I think the idea of child desertion is clear overkill, after all parents are expected to put their kids on a school bus, and most school bus drivers I’ve known are WAY sketchier than any Lyft or Uber driver I’ve known

        1. “The driver may have made himself subject to termination already by taking the unaccompanied minor to the the police station.”

          Naw, wasn’t doing that “as a Lyft driver”, just as a rando that someone abandoned a child with.

          And someone can’t hand you their kid, say “take them to X” and walk off while you are saying no and make you a “kidnapper” for not doing it.

          See LA code: https://law.justia.com/codes/louisiana/2011/rs/title14/rs14-45/

          “Taking an abandoned child that has been dumped on you to the cops” is not kidnapping under any state’s statutes, that I’m aware of, and certainly is not in Louisiana.

          (It was not forcible, so part 1) does not apply. It was not for “an unlawful purpose”, so 2) does not. 3), 4), and 5) all apply only to special circumstances not present here.

          No kidnapping when mom gives you the kid and you’re not doing anything illegal, basically.)

    2. There was another choice: call 911 and don’t drive away. Let a *nice* cop (the fairy tale kind) explain to the Mom that she was being stupid. let the apologetic mom (the fairy tale kind) bow and say sorry, and deal with things properly.

      The proper thing to do would for Lyft to not have such rigid policies; how about a child passenger is ok if the adult payer says so?

      I agree the driver was between a rock and a hard place. The stupid role was played by the mother refusing to listen to the Lyft driver. The asshole role was played by the State, as usual.

      1. The proper thing to do would for Lyft to not have such rigid policies; how about a child passenger is ok if the adult payer says so?

        You are free to start your own ride-sharing business and set your own rules.

        1. You are free to buzz off.

          1. “Let me introduce our CEO, Heywood Jabuzzoff.”

            1. Is Heywood Jabuzzoff related to Nosenheimer Buttinsky?

          2. Alphabet Guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about, as usual.

        2. “You are free to start your own ride-sharing business and set your own rules.”

          In the USA? After filling out 12,456 forms, sucking politician dicks and regulator dicks and making bribes (ooops, I mean campaign contributions), and waiting 5 years? You call that “…free to start…”?

        3. We’re also free to not use ride sharing companies that have such dumb policies.

      2. I honestly doubt that the Lyft Driver actually said this to the mom. I just find it highly unlikely that a mom opens the door, puts the kid in, and then is told he cannot ride alone, only to turn around and go inside.

        More likely, the Lyft driver said something and she didn’t hear it, or he didn’t realize what was up until after she went inside. It is also noteworthy that rideshare drivers typically have your phone number. Why didn’t he pick up the phone and call her to say “Hey, I’m still outside and can’t take your kid. We are going to the cops next if you don’t come get him.”

        My guess is that this driver did not feel comfortable telling this lady No, and so he took a path of least resistance. It is a path that too many people take this day and age. Rather than having a possibly contentious conversation with a parent, they go right to the cops or CPS.

        1. I just find it highly unlikely that a mom opens the door, puts the kid in, and then is told he cannot ride alone, only to turn around and go inside.

          She was a rapper who “was not feeling well”.

            1. He’s implying that “not feeling well” is probably a euphemism for under the influence of a controlled substance which would probably explain her odd behavior.

        2. Maybe she didn’t pick up the phone. That happens a lot.

      3. Oh definitely call 911 and wait for the cops to show up – with a SWAT team, to batter down the door, shoot the kid, the family dog and possibly the Lyft driver himself.

      4. And what if the little kid acts up, won’t wear his seatbelt, etc.? Is the driver supposed to discipline some stranger’s kid? Lot of other problems can come into it too. No rideshare driver wants to get stuck with this kind of bullshit.

        Mom fucked up. She shouldn’t go to jail, but she acted irresponsibly in this instance.

      5. Those aren’t Lyft’s policies. Most states (it actually might be all 50 states) don’t allow TNC’s (Transportation Network Companies) to accommodate unaccompanied minor’s in a rideshare vehicle. Not only is it against the law, insurance fine print makes it very clear that doing so will nullify the rideshare company’s insurance coverage. Not sure about Lyft’s insurance provider, but James River Insurance, which covers Uber’s rides has the same exact policy on unaccompanied minors on any ride in which there’s an unaccompanied rider. Not to mention, if the driver’s own insurance company finds out the driver drove an unaccompanied policy, their own policies won’t cover the driver in the event of an accident.

  2. “According to authorities, the driver told Oliver that he could not take the child unaccompanied by an adult. However, the woman went back into the home and did not return, the driver told investigators.”

    That changes the crux of the story completely. It’s almost as if Britschgi didn’t read the story to which he linked. I expect that this post will be taken down pretty quickly.

    1. The mother was being stupid, but the charges are still ridiculous. The child wasn’t in danger and nothing happened. Seems like a visit and chat with police would have been plenty in this case.

      1. Agreed. My point was that Britschgi didn’t actually read the article, and it was not at all accurate that “The Lyft driver, after realizing Oliver would not be accompanying her son, immediately drove him to a police station to report his mother.”

        1. And it’s also not accurate that she was arrested “for letting her child take Lyft to school”.

          She was arrested for abandoning her child with a random stranger.

          (She still probably shouldn’t be arrested for it, but she was not arrested for ‘letting’ the child actually take Lyft to school.)

      2. She apparently already had two arrest warrants out on her and depending on whether “not feeling well” means “drunk or stoned” when the cops showed up may have played into the decision on whether to charge her for this as well.

        1. The more that I read of this, the more sympathetic the driver is and the more that this seems a “last straw” from the authorities.

  3. I think an arrest was fairly extreme. I don’t think that the woman is a menace to society… I think she’s just kind of dumb and/or lazy. At least she’s worried enough about her kid to try to get them to school and didn’t just say “well I’m feeling ill so I’m not going to bother getting the kid to school at all.”

    That being said, her judgement seems pretty bad if she’s just putting her kid in strangers’ car and saying “okay, bye bye” right after that stranger repeatedly tells he cannot take the kid without an accompanying adult (hell, I’d make that my own personal policy even if Lyft did allow unaccompanied minors to travel via rideshare… I sure as hell don’t want to be responsible for your minor! I didn’t sign up to take temporary custody of some random person’s child.)

  4. Lyft has a policy against drivers picking up unaccompanied minors, so it sounds like Oliver violated the company’s terms of service.

    Funnily enough – so did the driver.

    1. Arrest *everyone* involved, particularly Lyft’s CEO! *Somebody* must pay!

    2. No, not unless Lyft policies cover rides that they’re not providing as Lyft drivers since the drivers are using their personal vehicles.

  5. Where’s the cab industry shill to explain how Lyft is evil and nothing bad has ever happened to a child taking a taxi?

    1. I went to school with a classmate who sometimes took a cab to school. We all thought that was awesome.

      Different times. (Probably better in that regard too)

      1. Not only were they different, they were probably safer. Crime is DOWN, further down than it has been since the mod 1960’s. All the panic about ‘child safety’ is misdirected; a child is far more likely to be abused or abducted by a family member than y a stranger.

        *sigh* and waddaya wanna bet the local taxi companies ALSO have rules against carrying unaccompanied minors?

    2. Where’s the cab industry shill to explain how Lyft is evil and nothing bad has ever happened to a child taking a taxi?

      That reminds me, when Reagan was shot, they took him to my alma mater for medical treatment.

      1. You were a medical at GWU?

        It is still a level 1 trauma center.

  6. Assuming this was the first time, it seems to me the police could have simply taken the child home and informed the mother that she has no right to foist her kid upon some unwilling adult and that she could face charges next time.

    Of course if this was the “next time” maybe the police were a bit fed up.

  7. I thought Lyft drivers were like the Terminator in T-2 — they would do whatever the kid tells them to. “Driver, take me Legoland.”

  8. The Lyft driver, after realizing Oliver would not be accompanying her son, immediately drove him to a police station to report his mother.

    What the fuck is wrong with people? Why didn’t the driver just say, “Sorry, Ma’am, I can’t take a five year old without a guardian.”

    1. The link to the story says, “According to authorities, the driver told Oliver that he could not take the child unaccompanied by an adult. However, the woman went back into the home and did not return, the driver told investigators.”

  9. poor kid.

    1. Bingo. The police and driver did the right thing. Let’s hope the parent learns. Decent people also should hope this child overcomes having a substandard parent.

      1. Probably a ‘clinger,’ eh rev?

  10. Looks like Vanilla Ice’s kid.

  11. Just a hunch that picture isn’t the actual child.

    Her mug shot would seem to suggest some possible reasons she was not feeling well. It is worth noticing that the Lyft driver was not summoned to where the bounce rapper and the child live, but to a location in a town on the opposite side of the Mississippi River

  12. […] Click here to view original story: Mother Arrested for Letting Child Take Lyft to School […]

  13. “the intentional or criminally negligent exposure of a child under the age of ten years…to a hazard or danger against which the child cannot reasonably be expected to protect himself, or the desertion or abandonment of such child, knowing or having reason to believe that the child could be exposed to such hazard or danger.”

    I don’t suppose she could be charged with desertion for sending him to a school where he could be bullied by the other children or indoctrinated by the teachers, even though it fits the definition in the law. That’s just crazy talk, right?

  14. Yeah, the driver should have simply refused to keep the child in his car, as the company policy demands. I would not feel comfortable letting any kid of mine travel in a ride-share unaccompanied, but parents can make their own decisions on this matter.

    Granted, airlines have a more rigorousness vetting system to prevent pilots from flying the plane to the wrong location, but there were still hostage situations in the 1970’s (Entebbe ect.), and a decade later, my parents felt fine letting my fly as an unaccompanied minor from the suburbs of New York City to the suburbs of Chicago. I mean, these days, with the TSA and Chicago being the way they are, I would not recommend doing that, but it was a safe routine decision back in the 1980’s. That reminds me, I never asked my ex-wife why she said she didn’t want my mom babysitting any of the kids we expected to have.

    1. Of course, it’s much safer now than it was in the 80s

  15. I took a cab from one school to another every school day 7th grade,

    What is wrong with you people?

    1. As I pointed out above, these days the cab companies probably ALSO have the rule Lyft has against unaccompanied children.

    2. In the 7th grade you would have been about twelve or thirteen years of age. This kid was only five.

  16. “The Lyft driver, after realizing Oliver would not be accompanying her son, immediately drove him to a police station to report his mother.”

    This meets the definition of kidnapping.
    The driver was in possession of a minor child, NOT authorized to to do anything other than deliver the kid to a specific school under a contractual obligation. Sex trafficking at its worst. Assuming a “security” camera, kiddie porn as well. Off with his head.

    1. Link to the story says, “According to authorities, the driver told Oliver that he could not take the child unaccompanied by an adult. However, the woman went back into the home and did not return, the driver told investigators.”

  17. Moderation Test

  18. Wow, in 1991, St. Bernard Parish voted a majority for ex- KKKlansman/Nazi David Duke, and now it is a place where “rap artists” live?

    Perhaps Hurricane Katrina changed the demographics in a form of “hurricane flood white flight”?

  19. So the Lyft driver not only did not follow company policy. They kidnapped the child and took him to a different location than the destination that was paid for by the parent.

  20. The Lyft driver is no doubt out of a job and Lyft will eventually get sued by the parent, since the driver did drive her child to another location, when he could have just left the kid at the home and drove off. Of course, CPS will take the kid away to foster care for a bit, which is terrible for the kid and parent, and the family and legal court systems, 2 different cases, will have to handle another avoidable case that will further back up it’s already overloaded gears. And the cops and CPS will pat themselves on the back that “they made a difference”. Sure the mom made a bad plan, but she thought this was ok to send her kid with Lyft, just like some parents try and send their little kids to places in taxis. Obviously 5 is way too young, but if you were a Taxi driver, you wouldn’t drive the kid to the cop shop. You’d either refuse or demand more money. If you’re rich, you can legally send your kid unaccompanied in a Limo anywhere you like and that’s ok, because there are different rules for rich and poor.

  21. Kid obviously needs to be taken and sent to a CPS rape mill. It’s the only moral way to handle it!

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