Hundreds of mourners gathered at a lakeside gazebo in Robbinsville, NJ on Tuesday night to remember Samantha Josephson. For over an hour, friends and family members shared memories of the 21-year-old.
Josephson, a senior at the University of South Carolina, was found dead Friday afternoon in Clarendon County after police say she got mistakenly into a car with her accused killer, whom she believed was her Uber driver.
Samantha’s father, Seymour, spoke warmly of his daughter, drawing laughter and tears from those in attendance as he recounted stories that many of Samantha’s hometown friends had come to call “Sammy-isms.”
“She’s as kooky and laughable and lighthearted, and one of the best kids you’ll ever meet in your entire life,” he said, before thanking the community for their emails, texts, and messages of support. “We just got home from South Carolina yesterday afternoon, and before I even got out of the car, people were pulling up to give us their condolences.”
“I can see why she loved you guys so much,” echoed Samantha’s boyfriend, Greg Corbishley. “I saw myself ten years from now coming back to this place with her and being with her friends, her family, and her friends and family coming back to Charleston and so forth. There are no words for what happened.”
Robinson’s childhood and college friends also shared stories of Josephson, remembering how she managed to break both of her wrists at the same time, dressed up in a bizarre outfit and danced to “Circle of Life” to dissuade prospective buyers from purchasing her friend’s beach house, and painted blue face paint under her eyes for a Justin Bieber concert because she thought it would make the pop star “absolutely fall in love” with her.
“If my family and I learned anything from Sammy, it was how to laugh often, love much, and to be yourself no matter who was watching,” said Barb Samel, Josephson’s neighbor. “Her journey here may be over, but the memories here that she left us all with will last a lifetime. She would want us to toast her, not to cry for her.”
Josephson’s family and friends are now calling on Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing platforms to take more responsibility for the safety of their passengers.
“They say that something good can come out of something bad,” said her father. “Screw that. I don’t want to be here. I didn’t want to go through this. We want something to change. And if it can change, and if we can force change, then great. That’s what we want to do.”
As the vigil drew to a close, the crowd fell silent, listening to one of Josephson’s cousins sing “I’ll Never Love Again” against a backdrop of rainbow-colored gazebo lights and hundreds of flickering white candles.
Josephson’s funeral will take place at noon on Wednesday, April 3.