Uber driver reportedly strands woman in labor, charges her $13

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David Lee acted fast when his wife was in labor.

He grabbed her overnight bag, called their birthing coach, and called an Uber to take them from their Manhattan apartment to the hospital.

But when his wife, who did not want to be named, vomited on the sidewalk before entering the Uber, the driver refused to take him to the hospital.

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Lee told Fortune.com that he and his wife's birthing coach promised the driver his wife wouldn't get sick again. If she did, they would pay for any cleaning fees.

But the driver still refused, saying he would lose $1,000 a day if Lee's wife got sick in the car and he had to wait for it to be cleaned.

Lee said the driver told them no other Uber drivers would take a woman in labor as a passenger.

The driver then drove off and charged Lee and his wife $13 for the time he lost while speaking to them.

"I don't blame Uber for one driver's poor actions, since bad apples can appear in any organization, but I do think that when a company has a culture of bullying their way past laws and regulations, as Uber seems to do, they begin to think they can act with impunity in anything," Lee said.

Ultimately, Lee, a lawyer, complained to Uber and was refunded the $13. His wife made it safely to the hospital in another Uber and gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

"Uber should have clarified their policies on drivers and women in labor, and confirmed that the driver received appropriate disciplinary action," Lee said. "I'm fortunate enough to know my rights and have access to resources, but I feel for the person who is not as lucky."

Emily Martin of the National Women's Law Center in Washington, D.C., said it is illegal for New York drivers to refuse service to women in labor.

"Uber drivers are bound by the same public accommodation laws that prohibit New York City taxi drivers and car services from discriminating on the basis of pregnancy when deciding who they will pick up," she said. "Those laws are a good thing, as they help ensure that not many babies end up being born on New York City sidewalks."

In a statement, Uber said, "Denying service to a passenger in labor is unacceptable. It goes against our code of conduct and the standard of service our riders rely on. We extend our deepest apologies to both riders and have taken action to respond to this complaint. We are glad that the rider's next driver was professional and courteous."