Uber thanks driver for helping teen in US snowstorm: 'Not all heroes wear capes'

DaVante Williams's selfless actions have also earned him a new job opportunity

Part-time Uber driver DaVante Williams received praise after going above and beyond in his job to keep a teenager safe in a winter storm. Photo: DaVante Williams

DaVante Williams, a part-time Uber driver, is being hailed a hero after keeping his teenage passenger safe while they were stuck for hours on America's Interstate 95.

During a severe winter storm in the US last week, Mr Williams, 32, was taking Antonia Ward, 15, from Washington DC to Williamsburg, Virginia, but they got stuck for more than five hours on the motorway as the weather caused an 80-kilometre traffic jam.

See photos of extreme weather in the US in the past week:

Mr Williams had picked the girl up at Union Station at about 2am on Tuesday after her train had been cancelled. They embarked on the two-and-a-half hour trip, but about 30km in, Mr Williams realised there was a problem as they came to a standstill.

The teenager appeared exhausted, kept calling her parents to update them and was on the brink of crying, said Mr Williams. He was also concerned about his petrol reserves as the temperature continued to drop.

“I need to get out of this traffic because my anxiety is starting, and I’m in a car with a complete stranger,” Mr Williams told The Washington Post. “I’m responsible for her and me at this moment.”

He tried taking an alternative route, but the police redirected him back to the I-95.

He eventually turned back to DC and, not wanting to leave Antonia at Union Station by herself, paid out of his own pocket for a hotel room for her while the storm passed, after her parents hesitantly agreed.

“They don't know me, I don't know them, and I get it,” Mr Williams said. “They just want to make sure their child is safe.”

Antonia was then able to leave later with a family friend, who took her home.

“So around about 8:30 Tuesday night, she texted me and said she was safe,” Mr Williams said. “She thanked me for everything and her parents had also thanked me, for doing what I did for their daughter because I didn't have to do it.”

Uber reimbursed Mr Williams for the cost of the hotel room and thanked him for his consideration.

“Not all heroes wear capes,” the company wrote on Twitter, alongside a heart emoji. “Thank you, DaVante.”

Since then, Williams, who also works full time as a property manager and real estate agent, has been offered a part-time job as lead driver at Alto, an upscale ride-sharing company that operates throughout Texas, California, Florida and Washington, CNN reported.

“We are thrilled,” a spokeswoman said in an email to the publication. “DaVante is exactly the type of customer and safety-focused leader we are looking to help lead our DC presence.”

Updated: January 9th 2022, 7:28 AM