The Miami doctor who became a viral-video villain for accosting an Uber driver went on national television Wednesday to declare herself “ashamed” by her behavior and devastated by its consequences.
“I see a person that is not me,” Dr. Anjali Ramkissoon, 30, told Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos in an in-studio interview aired during the program’s first hour. “I’m ashamed.”
The live sit-down was Ramkissoon’s first public move aimed at rescuing a reputation after a Jan. 19 video of her berating and hitting an Uber driver in downtown Miami became an Internet sensation. The driver was there to pick up someone else, but Ramkissoon, a fourth-year neurology resident at Jackson Health System, demanded the car for herself.
Ramkissoon’s filmed tantrum ends with her jumping into the dented sedan and flinging papers outside the passenger window while ordering the driver “get the f--- into the car you disgusting piece of s---.”
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The five minutes and three seconds of cellphone video drew hundreds of thousands of views and attracted global media coverage. On Thursday, Jackson announced that it was placing her on administrative leave. Ramkissoon declined extended interviews after the incident, making her media debut on GMA in New York.
She told Stephanopoulos that it was a particularly trying night for her before the incident: Her father was hospitalized earlier in the day, and “just minutes” before the altercation, she had broken up with her boyfriend of two years. She said she drove herself that evening, but had enough to drink that she wanted to take Uber home.
“There is absolutely no excuse for my actions,” Ramkissoon said. “I am so sorry. I have hurt so many people with this. My family, my friends, my job, the Uber driver. Nobody deserves to be treated that way. That’s not me.”
She said the Uber driver accepted her apology on the spot, and declared herself “so thankful” that he didn’t press criminal charges against her.
“I was caught at my lowest moment,” she said. “In the moment, I was just so angry. I wasn’t really thinking. If I could take it back, I would.”
In a steady voice, Ramkissoon described being on the receiving end of a story now in its second week of national fascination: her parents hounded by the media after their address “leaked,” and, for her, online harassment. “I’ve received messages I should kill myself,” she said. “That I should have been raped that night.”
For now, Ramkissoon — who told Gossip Extra columnist Jose Lambiet that she was hiring a public-relations firm while trying to remain “under the radar” — said she’s hoping that taking responsibility for her lapse will begin to bring her back into the good graces of Jackson and others.
“I did something extremely horrible,” Ramkissoon added. “I’m here to own for what I did. I’m asking for forgiveness.”
“At the same time, I should also speak out, too,” she said. “And use my story as a message, as a lesson. To be careful what you do in public. Because the things we do can be taped, and we can have to suffer severe ramifications for these things.”