South Carolina school employee on leave after child gets unsupervised ride from Lyft

- A school employee in South Carolina is on administrative leave as police began investigating how a 5-year-old student was picked up by a Lyft driver.

After a long day of work, and being stuck in traffic for almost an hour, Marlesha Heyard told FOX 24 she received a call from the school in the West Ashley area.

“I’m calling you because someone picked up your son,” she heard on the other line. She typically picks up her 5-year-old son, Makel, from an after-school program called, Kaleidoscope at Springfield Elementary, from Monday through Friday at 6 p.m. The only other person she could imagine would have her son, is her own mother, but she didn’t.

Marlesha said she rushed to the school, and reviewed all the emergency contacts with the program director and looked through surveillance video.

“She described the person to me, and I knew it was an unknown person,” she explained. “I don’t know who that is.”

Marlesha said she called 911, and apparently, so did the Lyft driver who picked up her 5-year-old. When the driver reached their destination, no one was home, and her son said, “I don’t live here,” Marlesha explained. He was found at Ashley Grove Apartments about four miles away from the school. She said they have never lived there and do not know anyone who does.

According to Lyft’s policy, no one under 17 is allowed to ride in a car by themselves. The driver spoke to FOX 24, but wanted to remain anonymous. She explained she was expecting an adult when she arrived along Pinehurst Drive. 

Police say they are looking for a person named “Abby” who scheduled the initial pick-up. Officers drove Makel back to the school to reunite him with his mother.

“He’s safe,” Marlesha said, “but in the event something had happened to my child, being apologetic and being complacent was not going to bring my child back.” 

The employee placed on leave wasn’t identified, but the Charleston County School District released the following statement to FOX 24

“CCSD is committed to ensuring that our students' health, wellness, and safety is our highest priority. We are aware of an incident that occurred at Springfield Elementary School, and are currently involved in a thorough and active investigation based on allegations.”

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