DaVante Williams is being praised for his heroics in getting a teen girl home safely to her parents after being logjammed in traffic for more than five hours on Interstate 95 in Virginia.
Williams, a 32-year-old part-time Uber driver, told CNN in an interview that once it became evident how bad the traffic had become on a 50-mile backup due to a severe winter storm on Jan. 4, his priority became his passenger’s safety.
The teen customer was traveling from Union Station in Washington D.C. to her home Williamsburg, Virginia. She was picked up at 2 a.m. after her train had been canceled multiple times due to weather conditions.
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On the car ride, Williams could tell the teen customer was in low spirits. “She’s telling me she’s OK, but I could hear her on the phone talking to family and friends and I can hear that she’s just exhausted, emotional and just tired,” he told CNN.
While Williams provided snacks to the teen, he grew concerned about having enough gas while being stuck in traffic for another estimated three hours after having been in the jam for hours, according to his GPS. Despite trying to get off the interstate, police had closed alternative roads due to downed trees and power lines.
With limited options and it becoming clear that getting her home would take hours upon hours, Williams opted to buy a hotel room for the customer for the night with his own money after speaking with her parents.
“They don’t know me, I don’t know them, and I get it,” he said. “They just want to make sure their child is safe.
“So around about 8:30 (at night the next day), she texted me and said she was safe. She thanked me for everything and her parents had also thanked me, for doing what I did for their daughter because I didn’t have to do it.”
Uber later reimbursed Williams for the cost of the hotel room and tweeted its praise, “Not all heroes wear capes.”
Social media poured in afterward, with one user tweeting: “Greatest Uber driver ever.”
While Williams earned $107 for his trip, he was able to turn his customer service into a brand new job: He was offered to be a lead driver for the upscale rideshare company, Alto, which has branches in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and D.C. His responsibilities in the new job will be training other drivers in customer service.
Williams’ full-time job is as a property manager and realtor.