Uber drivers are often praised for going above the call to ensure their teenage passengers return home safe.
DaVante Williams, Washington, D.C., was one of the hundreds of people who were stuck for hours this week due to heavy snowfall on a section of Interstate 95 in Virginia.
Williams stated that he woke up on Monday night after a long nap and opened his Uber Driver app to find many passengers looking for a ride.
He didn’t see any road closure advisories or alerts, so he set out to pick up three different riders around midnight on Tuesday morning.
Williams then took his fourth passenger, a teenage girl, to Union Station, after her train home to Williamsburg, Virginia was canceled by a derailment.
Everything came to a halt about 20 miles into the journey. Williams tried to get off of the highway, but was eventually directed back to I-95’s unmoving traffic.
He thought it was just a “little fender bender,” but it turned out to be far worse as hours went by, and they still hadn’t moved.
In an interview with NewsNation Now, Williams said the passenger was “so distraught” as they faced the gridlock traffic. The kind driver spoke to her parents to assure her that she was safe with him after it became apparent that her return journey home would be delayed by yet another snag.
“I had to explain to her parents that, ‘Hey, I’m not any one crazy. I’m just trying to get your daughter somewhere safe,’“ said Williams, a full-time realtor and property manager who also drives for Uber and Lyft on the side.
They ended up stuck on I-95 for five hours and a quarter over night. Williams always has crackers, water or some kind of juice and was able to share them the young passenger.
“I had little stuff to get us over,” he recalled.
Williams finally found a way to leave the freeway at around 7:30 AM the next day. The driver knew that Williams was exhausted from sitting in traffic for so many hours and was still far from home, so he booked her a room in a hotel at 8:30 a.m. to give her some rest and help with other travel plans.
“I wanted to make sure she was comfortable. And I didn’t want to leave her stranded,” he told the outlet.
Williams even offered to drive her all the way home after clearing the roads, and it was all free. Finally, Williams offered to drive her home with a friend of his family.
“I’m happy it was me that was her driver. Any other driver, I’m not sure what would have happened,” Williams said. “And based on her energy and her presence, I felt I was put there for a reason… to do what I did.”
The family thanked him for reuniting the teen with her parents and expressed their gratitude.
“She actually texted me and just thanked me … for everything that I had done for her that night,” Williams said.
Uber caught wind of Williams’ story, and they gave him a shoutout on Twitter. They wrote: “Not all heroes wear capes thank you, Davante!”
Williams was later praised by a representative of the company. They also requested a receipt from the hotel to reimburse him.
All the attention also led Williams to be offered a part-time role as a “lead driver” for Ride Alto, where he will be in a supervising and managing role. The startup, which recently launched in D.C., describes itself as an “upscale ride-sourcing service.”
Many similar stories emerged after the I-95 shutdown. One example is that of a bakery company who generously gave bread from their truck away to hungry and stranded motorists.
Click the video to hear Williams tell his story with NewsNation Now.
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