Passenger intervenes so Uber driver can see son compete in Rio
Published Thursday, August 11, 2016 11:47AM EDT
An American Uber driver will get the opportunity to cheer on his son at the Olympics in Rio next week, thanks to a crowdfunding campaign launched by a sympathetic passenger.
When Ellis Hill picked up Liz Willock as an Uber fare in New Jersey earlier this month, he'd already resigned himself to watching his son's big Olympic moment on TV. He had no idea that Willock would be the perfect person to propel him to the stands in Rio for the event.
The two got to talking during the ride, as Hill took Willock on an 80-minute journey to Philadelphia.
"We covered a lot of territory during that time," Willock told CTV News Channel on Thursday.
Willock says Hill was excited to tell her about his son, Darrell, who is slated to compete in the Olympic men's shotput for the United States next week.
Willock, whose job involves arranging transportation for patients, took it upon herself to help Hill make it to Rio for his son's competition. "We take patients from their home to clinical trial sites and then help them get home again," she said of her business. Willock regularly arranges passports, books accommodations and prepares for the smaller logistical issues involved with helping a patient travel in a short window of time.
"Why can't we do this for Ellis?" She recalls thinking at the time. "He could be one of our 'patients,' the only difference is he's an Olympic dad and his destination is Rio."
Willock raised US$7,500 for Hill through a GoFundMe campaign, and has successfully lined up everything so he can leave for Rio on Monday. She says raising the money was the easiest part, but it was a challenge to get Hill a passport within two weeks. She also had to arrange his hotel, transportation and Olympic tickets for the event.
"There were a lot of pieces that had to fall into place," she said, but she's excited now that it all came together.
"There was some kind of blessing or magic around this effort."