When Lyft driver David Daniels responded to a request for a ride in November, he had no idea he’d meet a ray of sunshine that would help him see the world differently.
The customer, 28-year-old Ed Hays Jr. from Shreveport, Louisiana, was upbeat and excited as he got into the car to go to work that rainy evening. When Hays got in, Daniels was surprised at his demeanor.
“It was about 6 o’clock at night and it was pouring rain,” Daniels, 29, told “Good Morning America.”
“On rainy days, people are normally in a foul mood. [Hays] came in [my car] … he was so excited. I asked, ‘How’s your night going?’ He said, ‘It couldn’t be better. I just found out I got promoted at my job to lead cashier.'”
“Yeah I’m just so excited I had enough money for a Lyft today so I don’t have to walk since it’s pouring down rain,” Daniels recalled Hays telling him in a TikTok video.
As he continued chatting, Daniels learned that his passenger routinely walked the over 11-mile round-trip commute every day. It took him about an hour and a half one way (5.7 miles), but he was just thankful to have a job.
“I said, ‘Are you kidding me? You walk that far every day?'” Daniels said. “So after walking six miles to work the graveyard shift, he was walking six miles back to his house.”
Hays’ work ethic so impressed Daniels that he wanted to do something life-changing for the man. So he did what many modern do-gooders do these days: he started a GoFundMe.
He shared the story on TikTok as well, praising Hays’ character and saying “we got to get on this man’s level.”
Daniels managed to raise $5,500 to go toward a set of wheels for 28-year-old Hays, plus an additional $2,500 so far that will also be given to him. With the help of Beau Witkowski and Derrick Thomas at SBC Autos, Daniels secured a 2001 Mercury Grand Marquis in great condition for Hays and is working with him to help him get his license.
To say Hays was surprised would be an understatement.
“I was never expecting all of this,” the new owner of the car said. “I give him all credit for everything he’s doing. He’s like a saint.”
Witkowski and Thomas were happy to be part of such an inspiring story.
“For Ed to get up every morning, rain, sleet or shine, put a smile on … we wanted to help to him get to where he needed to be,” Witkowski said.
“We love the great news with everything our country is going through with COVID-19 and to be able to fill a need here, why wouldn’t we jump on that and make an impact on our community where we can?” Thomas said.
Hays, who also works multiple days a week prepping food at a restaurant, has a simple message for those who see him as a shining example of determination and joy.
“Don’t let anything deter you from your goals,” he said. “You can always push through.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.