Activism

Good Samaritans Raise Funds to Help Parent of Olympic Athlete Travel to Rio

The Pennsylvania Uber driver hasn't seen his son in months, but will soon be able to watch him compete, thanks to the determination of one woman and the generosity of hundreds of strangers.

Credit:

Credit: GoFundMe

There’s an old Chinese proverb that goes like this: “An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break.

The people in our lives who will have a profound impact – good or bad – are believed to be connected by the Red Thread of Destiny. If the beautiful proverb is right, then it’s likely that fate intervened to ensure Liz Willock met Ellis Hill when she needed an Uber ride home.

During the hour-long ride in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Willock was making small talk with Hill when they approached the topic of the Olympic Games. She soon learned that the driver’s son, Darrell Hill, would be representing Team USA in shot-put.

Ellis was incredibly proud of his son but, unfortunately, couldn’t travel to Brazil because he lacked the funds. The Uber driver told People: 

“When I told her about my son she was really amazed, but when she asked me if I was going over there to watch him, I said I really couldn’t afford it.”

When Willock learned of this, she became determined to help make his dream of watching his son compete a reality. After all, “it was devastating to hear,” she told People. 

“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 said.

Because Willock works as a sales leader at a concierge service that arranges travel and accommodations for people, she is a very well-connected lady. She exchanged information with the driver and the next day, started a GoFundMe campaign to raise the money needed to transport Ellis to Brazil.

The aim was to raise $7,500, and within a few days, activists from around the world had helped meet that goal. The best part was when Hill was surprised with the news after exiting church.

Not only is Hill enthusiastic about being able to watch his son compete, he’s inspired by the outpouring of generosity by strangers from around the world. He told the press:

“I was ecstatic. I feel really grateful and overcome by the knowledge that there are good people out there.”

Willock, too, feels hopeful about humanity.

“There has been so much sadness and violence in the news lately and this really restored my faith in humanity,” she said. “We had over 150 people contribute and I think Ellis knew maybe 10 of them. The rest were strangers.”

The Pennsylvania Uber driver hasn’t seen his son in months, but will soon be able to watch him compete, thanks to the determination of one woman and the generosity of hundreds of strangers.

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