Uber driver who got a hotel room for a teenage passenger after being stuck on I-95 is offered a new job
By David Williams, CNN
(CNN) – DaVante Williams was solely focused on getting her teenage passenger back to her parents safely during the more than five hours they were stuck on Interstate 95 in Virginia with countless other vehicles.
The part-time Uber driver told CNN he was unaware Monday’s severe winter storm had created a 50-mile-long backup that left some motorists stranded for more than 24 hours when he agreed to do the journey from Washington, DC, to Williamsburg, Virginia.
Williams, 32, said he picked up the girl from Union Station around 2 a.m. Tuesday after her train was canceled due to weather.
They were about 20 miles into the two-and-a-half-hour trip when Williams realized there was a problem.
“I noticed trucks and cars, there’s a ton of red lights ahead of me,” he said.
He tried to take an alternate route, but the police turned him back on the Interstate because those roads were also closed due to downed trees and power lines.
“Once we got back on I-95, my GPS updates instantly and it adds another hour and 30 minutes to the trip,” Williams said.
He said he continued to check on his passenger and offered her drinks and snacks which he kept in the car.
“She tells me she’s fine, but I can hear her on the phone talking to family and friends and I can hear she’s just exhausted and emotional and just tired,” he said.
Williams said he had no blankets in the car and was worried his gas would go down because he was driving the car to use the heat.
He was finally able to follow a work truck and a few other cars and turn around on I-95 and head back to DC.
Williams didn’t want to leave the passenger alone at Union Station, so he convinced her parents to leave a hotel room for her — with his own money — so she could rest and be safe.
The parents were reluctant at first, but agreed it was the best idea.
“They don’t know me, I don’t know them and I get it,” Williams said. “They just want to make sure their child is safe.”
He had him checked into the hotel around 8 a.m. and offered to take the passenger back to Williamsburg for free once the roads were clear.
A family friend was able to take her home.
“So around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night, she texted me and said she was safe,” he said. “She thanked me for everything and her parents thanked me as well, for doing what I did for their daughter because I didn’t have to.”
Uber reimburses Williams for the cost of the hotel room and thanks him for doing so much for his passenger.
“Mr. Williams has gone above and beyond during this very stressful situation, and we thank him for his thoughtful actions,” a company spokesperson said in an email to CNN.
The company said “not all heroes wear capes” in a post on Twitter.
Williams was paid $107 for the ride, but his extraordinary customer service landed him a new opportunity.
He was offered a part-time job as a lead driver with Alto, a high-end ride-sharing company that operates in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and DC.
Williams said he would train other drivers in customer service and maintenance of their vehicles.
“We are thrilled,” a spokeswoman said in an email to CNN. “DaVante is exactly the type of customer and safety-focused leader we are looking for to help lead our DC presence.”
Williams said they are still working out the details of the offer as he works full-time as a property manager and real estate agent.
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