Ellis Hill, an Uber driver in Pennsylvania, was the recent recipient of the best gift humanity has to offer: kindness from strangers. His son Darrell Hill is competing in Team USA in Rio this summer, but due to financial struggles, Hill was initially unable to watch him compete. Thanks to a kind Uber passenger, he will be making the trip after all. Here’s the heart-warming full story:
What started it all?
Ellis Hill is a retired bus driver who now works as Uber driver in Pennsylvania. He picked up a passenger, Liz Willock, whom he drove to Philadelphia.
During the hour-long drive, Hill proudly explained to Willock how his son, Darrell Hill, would be representing Team USA in the Rio Olympics for shot put. The driver was very happy about his son’s accomplishments “but when she [Willock] asked me if I was going over there to watch him, I said I really couldn’t afford it,” Hill tells People.
This broke Willock’s heart. She described it as devastating to hear. “Here’s this wonderful man who has a close relationship with his son and I know any parent would want to see their son or daughter compete at the Olympics, but it was very understandable how that could be out of reach,” she explained.
What did she do next?
That was when Willock decided to help Hill raise the money for his trip. She works as a sales leader at a concierge service that arranges travel for people seeking clinical trials around the world, so she felt she had the resources to help him.
“She asked me, ‘If I could get you a ticket would you go?'” Hill recalled. “And I said, ‘Oh my goodness I don’t even know you!'” Willock responded with “No. I believe you and I were fated to meet and I’m going to try to make this happen.” The pair exchanged information at the end of the trip.
The next day, Willock set up a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $7,500 to help send Hill to Rio to cheer for his son.
Was it successful?
Donations began pouring in immediately, with the campaign reaching its goal in just two days. Most of the 150+ donors were strangers to Hill.
“I was ecstatic,” Hill remembers. “I feel really grateful and overcome by the knowledge that there are good people out there.” Willock felt the same.”There has been so much sadness and violence in the news lately,” she commented. “This really restored my faith in humanity.”
Hill will be in Rio from August 15th-19th. In addition to watching the Olympic Games, Uber is giving him $1,000 in ride credits and a $250 gift certificate to a high-end restaurant in the city.
Hill hasn’t seen his son for months due to his son’s training sessions, but he “can’t wait to see him and encourage him in person and let him know I’m 100 percent in his corner.” Darrell Hill also thanked everyone who donated on Twitter, claiming the generosity he and his father experienced put him on the verge of tears.
Yo.. Somebody just donated $1,545 to my go fund me. I was almost moved to tears. God is so good.
— Darrell Hill (@B1GHomie) July 31, 2016
Would like to personally thank everyone who donated to help my Dad get to Rio, we achieved our goal. God is Good. #Thankful
— Darrell Hill (@B1GHomie) August 1, 2016
Don’t worry, Darrell; we’re crying happy tears too.