An Uber driver is being praised for going above and beyond to ensure his teenage passenger gets home safe.
DaVante Williams of Washington, D.C., was among the hundreds of people stuck for hours this week along a portion of Interstate 95 in Virginia due to heavy snowfall.
Williams said he woke up from a long nap on Monday evening, opened his Uber Driver app, and discovered many passengers were 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 picked up his fourth passenger, a teenager, from Union Station after her train back home to Williamsburg, Virginia, was canceled due to a derailment.
About 20 miles into the road, everything came to a stop. Williams tried to get off the highway but was ultimately directed back to the unmoving traffic on I-95.
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. When it became clear that her journey home would be delayed because of yet another snag, the kind driver spoke to her parents to assure them that their daughter was safe with him.
“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.
The two ended up being stuck on I-95 for five and a half hours overnight. Luckily, Williams always carries crackers, water, or some type of juice with him, and he was able to share them with the young passenger.
“I had little stuff to get us over,” he recalled.
Williams eventually found a way to exit the freeway around 7:30 a.m. the following morning. Knowing the teen was exhausted from sitting in traffic all night and was still a long way home, the driver booked a hotel room for her at around 8:30 a.m. so she could get some rest and arrange alternative 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 the rest of the way home once the roads had been cleared, all for free. Ultimately, a family friend picked her up and drove her home.
“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.”
After the teen reunited with her parents, the family reached out to him to express 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!”
A representative from the company later called Williams to praise him for his actions. They also asked for a receipt of the hotel room 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 have come to light after the I-95 shutdown, including that of a bakery company that generously gave away bread from their truck to hungry and stranded motorists.
Click on the video below to hear Williams talk about his story with NewsNation Now.