Ellis Hill had by no means pushed his Uber throughout the river earlier than.
Nevertheless, shuttling a passenger over the bridge to New Jersey was simply the most recent in a collection of firsts for the Philadelphia resident in July. His son Darrell, a Penn State track and discipline star, had simply made the U.S. Olympic staff for shot put on his first strive.
Ellis by no means actually thought of becoming a member of him in Rio de Janeiro. Touring to South America, he defined, was merely greater than he might afford.
“It wasn’t within the playing cards in any respect,” Ellis advised Upworthy. “I used to be eager about getting a very good bag of popcorn and sitting down to observe it on TV.”
However his passenger on that Uber journey, Liz Willock, had different concepts.
“I used to be simply crushed as a result of any good mum or dad would need to see their son or daughter compete as Olympian,” Willock instructed Upworthy. “I mentioned, ‘Ellis, you are an Olympic father! It is advisable go.”
Willock, who works for an organization that transports medical patients to and from scientific trials, rapidly realized she may use her skilled connections and expertise to fund and plan a visit to Rio for him.
After consulting with Ellis’ son Darrell, Willock launched a GoFundMe marketing campaign to send the Olympian’s father to Rio.
The trouble raised $8,200, easily exceeding its $7,500 aim.
Willock credit the efforts of dozens of strangers for serving to make the fundraiser a success, together with a United Airways pilot who donated airline miles to cowl Ellis’ flight to Brazil and the household of Joe Kovacs, Darrell’s teammate, who had been the primary to donate and plan to satisfy Ellis when he arrives within the metropolis.
Ellis, who has never traveled overseas earlier than, mentioned that he is “ecstatic” to have the chance to look at his son compete in the games.
“That is actually an enormous deal in our household proper now,” he mentioned.
Darrell’s cheering part again residence contains his mom, siblings, grandparents, and associates from all around the nation — together with Ellis’ new colleagues at Uber, amongst whom he is turn out to be a star.
Although he does not anticipate to see Darrell till after he competes, Ellis defined that attending to soak in his son’s success is its personal reward.
“It is simply an superior expertise for a child to place forth the hassle and stick with it through the years, and truly practice … and get it on the first time round,” he stated.
Whereas he could be thrilled if Darrell have been to return dwelling with a medal, Ellis mentioned he’ll be impressed regardless.
“The household and associates are extraordinarily completely satisfied, and we’re simply ready for him to remain targeted and put forth one of the best effort he presumably can for himself.”