Ethics Hero: Uber Driver DaVante Williams

Virginia’s inexcusable snowbound crisis last week, when motorists were trapped in their vehicles for more than 24 hours while the state’s governor dithered, did have the compensating virtue of revealing some local ethics heroes. Another whose ethical instincts and heroism recently surfaced is DaVante Williams.

The part-time Uber driver didn’t know that the winter storm had created a 50-mile-long backup when he agreed to drive a teenage girl from Washington, DC’s Union Station to Williamsburg, Virginia, a lengthy journey. Her train had been cancelled because of the weather conditions, and it was 2 am. They were about 20 miles into the typically two-and-a-half hour trip when Williams realized the chances of them reaching Williamsburg were slim because of the back-up on I-95. He tried an alternate route but was foiled when police directed him back onto the Interstate because those roads were also closed due to downed trees and power lines.

Williams didn’t want to give up, but he had no blankets in the car and he was concerned about his gas getting low with no way to reach a filling station. He finally followed a work truck and some other cars to turn around on I-95 and head back to DC. But the young woman in his back seat was obviously exhausted and stressed. Instead of dropping her off again at the train station in the early morning hours, Williams took her to a nearby hotel on Capitol Hill, paying for the room himself. He also offered to drive her to Williamsburg at no charge once the highway cleared.

Recognizing a terrific public relations opportunity when it saw one, Uber reimbursed Williams for the cost of the hotel room. “Mr. Williams went above and beyond during this very stressful situation, and we thank him for his thoughtful actions,” a company spokesperson said.  As a result of his kindness and caring, he has been offered a part time job as a lead driver at Alto, a rideshare company that currently operates in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and DC. Williams’ duties there would include training other drivers on customer service and maintaining their vehicles, provided that he can work out a schedule that will allow him to continue his main job  as a property manager and realtor.
How many drivers would have responded to a teenager’s crisis like Williams? Fortunately, his passenger didn’t have to find out.

2 thoughts on “Ethics Hero: Uber Driver DaVante Williams

  1. “How many drivers would have responded to a teenager’s crisis like Williams?”

    I hope that any driver would have done something other than drop the teenager back at the train station alone. He was on the phone with the parents and they mutually agreed that the best thing to do was drop the teenager off at a hotel. The article states that he paid for the hotel room himself, but surely this was with assurances from the parents that he would be reimbursed?

    Now to put my extra cynical hat on:

    How did CNN hear about this story?
    How did Uber HQ find out about this story?
    Why did Uber reimburse the driver rather than the parents? (for the good publicity, of course)
    He behaved as I would expect any decent person to behave, so why draw special attention to it? (good publicity, again)

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