HUNTINGTON, WV (WSAZ/Gray News) - A West Virginia father says he’s quitting the rideshare business after his two young daughters came into contact with a needle left in the back of his truck, WSAZ reports.
Andy McKee, a veteran and former police officer, was one of the first Uber and Lyft drivers when the ride-hailing programs came to Huntington, WV. He says he’s had rowdy riders and lots of bad customers, but he’s drawing the line after his two daughters found a needle in his backseat.
McKee says the nightmare started when one of his daughters was poked by something sharp imbedded in the backseat of the vehicle he uses for the ride-hailing programs. A search turned up nothing.
Days later, McKee’s other daughter was scratched. She found what she thought was a staple, but her father realized it was the broken end of a needle.
“Our stomach just dropped, so we went to the ER immediately,” McKee said.
Doctors at the hospital told the family they would need to monitor the puncture and scratch, but they do not believe any bacteria was shared with the young girls. They say the needle probably had dead bacteria on it and should not pose a significant risk.
Still, McKee says his days of driving are over. With nearly 25 rides given on a busy day, the father says it would be nearly impossible to pinpoint who could have left the needle behind.
“Never once did I think a needle would get lodged in my seat and my kids would scratch themselves on it,” he said. “I had fun doing it, but at the same time, I've got to worry about my kids and my own safety. So, I am 100 percent done.”
McKee also says the incident is a reminder and message to those looking to use ride-hailing programs in the future – both drivers and riders.
“For other drivers, they need to be aware that this is reality now, and for other people who take Lyft and Uber, they need to make sure they are watching. But how do you see something so small until it happens?” he said.
Because of his decision, McKee says he will lose around an extra $100 per shift he works with the companies, but he says it’s worth it to never experience anything like this again.