DaVante Williams was just focused on getting his teenage passenger home safely to her parents during the more than five hours they were stuck on Interstate 95 in Virginia along with countless other vehicles.
The part-time Uber driver told CNN he didn’t know that 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 make the trip from Washington, DC, to Williamsburg, Virginia.
The fare was already going to be substantial as he attempted to navigate his way from downtown D.C. to Williamsburg, Virginia, a journey of 150 miles. But Williams found he was going nowhere fast as 48 miles of I-95 was shut down with weather conditions making the road impassable.
Despite attempting to avoid the Interstate, at one point there was no other option, leaving the pair stuck in the horrendous traffic jam.
‘I just figured out maybe it was a little fender bender, but when I got closer, I noticed traffic was not moving.’ Every time Williams tried to get off the freeway he was advised by police officers to get back onto the main road because surrounding roads were also closed by snow and ice. Williams said that he gave the girl who was sitting in the back seat his supply of water and crackers during the journey. Nevertheless, she became extremely anxious and upset during the ordeal.
‘At this point we are just sitting on the same location, hours are starting to go by and people are starting to get off their cars to stretch,’ Williams explained. ‘This doesn’t look good.’ At one point he became so concerned about fuel levels that Williams had to keep switching his car engine on and off every few minutes in order to conserve gas while still attempting to keep the interior warm.
‘I need to get out of this traffic because my anxiety is starting, and I’m in a car with a complete stranger,’ Williams told The Washington Post. ‘I’m responsible for her and me at this moment.’
‘My passenger, she was so distraught,’ he told NewsNation. ‘Apparently, I picked her up from Union Station, and her train was canceled due to derailment. So she only could call for Uber, and I was her driver. Williams spoke to the girls’ parents to explain that he would drive her back to Washington D.C. without charge.
‘I had to explain to her parents that, ‘Hey, I’m not anyone crazy. I’m just trying to get your daughter somewhere safe. ‘I understand your fear and what’s going through your mind,’ Williams told the girl’s mom. ‘But please see that this is coming from a genuine place. I just want her to be safe and get rest.’ Williams ended up getting the girl a hotel room for the night and even footed the bill.
‘I wind up having to put her in a hotel because she wasn’t old enough to get a room … So I wanted to make sure she was comfortable. And I didn’t want to leave her stranded,’ he said. His story went viral with Uber tweeting the tale of his good deed and refunding the $150 it cost for her hotel room. ‘Not all heroes wear capes. Thank you, Davante!’ they tweeted. ‘Mr. Williams went above and beyond during this very stressful situation, and we thank him for his thoughtful actions,’ added Uber spokesperson said in a statement.
Since then, Williams has received nothing but praise as well as offers for a new job. ‘I received an offer to be a lead driver for Ride Alto, where I will be pretty much in the office, just being a supervisor.’
Following the drama, the teenager reached out to thank him for his moment of kindness. ‘She actually texted me and just thanked me … for everything that I had done for her that night. ‘The following morning her parents also … just outpouring of thanks again, for all that I could do to assist their daughter. ‘At the end of the day, the situation was larger than me and it was not about the money,’ Williams said. ‘It was about me doing the humane thing for me and her to be safe.’