Last week, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick got a text message from his mother, Bonnie Kalanick, urging him to cancel his East Coast meetings and join her at Pine Flats Lake in California instead.
“But I didn’t,” Kalanick wrote in a heart-wrenching Facebook post on Thursday.
“Back when I was a kid, we would go 20 miles up to the source of the lake where it becomes a cold, winding river through the Sierras,” he wrote. “Last Friday, near the end of the day, my parents took that same trip. Close to the source, my Mom asked my Dad to take over driving, a switch I’ve seen them do dozens of times before. But this time before they switched, our family dog got in the way, and the wheel turned sharply to the right. My Dad, seeing the boat heading straight for the rocks, swung the steering wheel back, but it was too late. The boat hit the rocks. My seventy-eight year old Dad was thrown into a deep eddy, badly injured with five broken ribs, a broken vertebrae, a broken leg and a collapsed lung. My Mom, still in the boat, unconscious, had most likely died immediately from the impact.”
In the wake of the tragedy, Kalanick described is mother as loving, joyful, and caring.
“She was a lover,” he wrote. “She wore her heart on her sleeves—yes, both of them—and when she walked into a room, her warmth, her smile and her joy would instantly fill it. They were infectious. My Dad would tease her about how easily she would cry, even before the end of a Hallmark commercial. She once exclaimed to me that ‘life is not just about logic and numbers and code!’ She was constantly teaching me about that other side of life: about people, about love, about her cherished holidays (I’m convinced that she had the world’s most prolific Santa Claus collection—76 boxes of Santas that unfurl across my childhood home every Christmas), and about human connection and humanity.”
He added: “And now, as I miss her terribly and feel the hole that she left in my heart, I realize much more fully the gift she gave me, and commit to live it and express it in her honor.”
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Kalanick noted that his father is still hospitalized but has significantly improved in the last 48 hours.
Read the rest of the note below: