An Uber driver who was stranded for hours in the snowstorm along Interstate 95 in Virginia was labeled a “hero” for his determination to bring his teen passenger home safely. He was even offered a new job for braving through the storm.
According to Fox 5 Atlanta, DaVante Williams faced the gridlock traffic head-on as he sat for more than 5.5 hours in his vehicle overnight with a younger rider, who he described as “emotional” and “overwhelmed.” The heavy snowfall and frigid temperatures impacted the Richmond and Washington D.C. area, leaving many drivers stranded on the interstate.
Among those stuck in their vehicles was Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. However, Williams and hundreds of other drivers were stranded into Tuesday morning, with no injuries or deaths reported.
Williams, a full-time realtor and property manager in Washington, D.C., drives Lyft and Uber as a side job for additional income. He jumped at the opportunity to make some extra cash Monday evening after looking at the Uber Driver app with many customers looking for rides.
“I didn’t even see anything about the road being closed. I didn’t get any kind of alert on my phone,” Williams said, noting how he drives a new truck with all-wheel drive. “There was nothing.”
During his shift midnight Tuesday morning, Williams picked up three different passengers before picking up a teenage girl trying to head home to Williamsburg, Virginia. She initially had plans to take the train, but it was canceled due to a derailment, and her last resort was to take an Uber.
After picking her up at the Union Station, Williams didn’t realize the massive traffic he faced after driving 20 miles near Lorton. And after multiple failed attempts, they were both at a standstill on the highway, Fox 5 reported.
“So, I get back on 95, and in my mind, I’m just saying, ‘Maybe this is a little fender bender. It will be all over shortly,’” Williams recalled. “One hour went by. Two hours went by…”
Williams and the teen called their loved ones to provide updates as they were stuck in back-to-back traffic. He started to worry about fuel after spending hours in his vehicle without any pathway to move.
He said the young passenger was “very, very emotional” during the ordeal and called her parents to ensure that she was safe.
“She would call her mother or call her father here and there to communicate what was going on,” Williams said. “She was overwhelmed, and I totally understood because all she wanted to do was get home.”
Williams was able to exit the freeway around 7:30 a.m. the following day and booked a hotel room for the teen rider at 8:30 a.m. to get some sleep make plans to return home. While he offered to drive her the rest of the way home free of charge, a family member 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.”
“We’re currently dealing with a pandemic and so many other things. People are mentally overwhelmed,” he added.
The D.C. native’s bravery was mentioned in a tweet by Uber later in the day, which wrote: “Not all heroes wear capes.”
Not all heroes wear capes ❤️ thank you, Davante! https://t.co/MlvQj3BBWe
— Uber (@Uber) January 5, 2022
An Uber representative called Williams to thank him for his selfless act and asked for a hotel room receipt to reimburse him, he said.
“Mr. Williams went above and beyond during this very stressful situation, and we thank him for his thoughtful actions,” an Uber spokesperson told the tv station in a statement.
Williams was offered a part-time “supervising, managing role” with Ride Alto, an upscale car service currently operating in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and D.C.
“It’s an office job… we’re working out the logistics of it,” Williams added.
The snowstorm has inspired Williams to become more prepared for instances like this in the near future.
“In the future, I think maybe I would take extra steps to research what (the weather) outside is like and then make a determination from there,” he said.