Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Pays Tribute to His Mother After Boating Accident

Travis Kalanick Getty 2017 - H
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The tech executive's parents were involved in a boating accident over Memorial Day Weekend that resulted in the death of his mother and seriously injured his father.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick on Thursday paid tribute to his mother, Bonnie, in a Facebook post, offering his first public comments since a boating accident over Memorial Day Weekend that killed her and seriously injured his father, Donald. 

Kalanick started his post by writing that his father "is getting much better in the last 48 hours." He then made public a note he had previously shared with close family and friends, who he thanked for helping him and his brother "pull through in this difficult time." 

In the note, the Northridge, Calif.-born Kalanick paid tribute to his mother, who spent her career working in newspaper advertising sales. He called her "a lover," noting, "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." 

Kalanick went on to describe his relationship with her: "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." 

Bonnie and Donald Kalanick were boating near Fresno, Calif., last Friday when the accident took place. The Fresno County Sheriff's office said in a statement at the time that they found a man and a woman on a shore off a lake. The woman died at the scene. The man was being treated at a hospital and was in serious but stable condition. 

Kalanick detailed the trip that his parents, longtime Southern California residents, had taken to Pine Flats Lake, describing it as "where our family used to spend our summers on a dusty campground with our ancient boat that required hours of daily engine work." 

He said the last time he communicated with his mother, she sent him a picture of the lake and asked him to cancel his meetings on the East Coast to join them for the trip. He didn't. 

Kalanick then described the accident, explaining that his parents had boated 20 miles to the source of the lake. He detailed how, as his father attempted to take over command of the boat from his mother, "the wheel turned sharply to the right" and the boat hit rocks. His father was thrown into the water. His mother, he wrote, likely died from the impact of the crash. 

"My Dad swam back to get her as the boat quickly sank," he continued. "He wrapped her with the life jackets and cushions that were floating where the boat once was. For almost two hours he tried swimming out of the cold current, holding her, eventually getting to the shore. Boats drove by but didn't see them. Eventually a fisherman found them. My Dad had tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation but she was gone." 

He ended the note with a photo of the lake and wrote, "My brother and I sit here next to my Dad, holding his hand and praying, hoping his strength can pull him through. Your prayers, heartfelt notes and shared wisdoms are little whispers helping me pull through with him." 

His full post is below.