Sunday, August 7, 2016

Strangers help Olympic Dad attend the games

Darrell is a Penn State track and field star who made the U.S. Olympic team for shot put on his first try. His dad, Ellis, is an Uber driver in Philadelphia. He's proud of his son, but never planned to attend the games himself. He could not afford to make the trip.  "It wasn't in the cards at all," he said. "I was thinking about getting a good bag of popcorn and sitting down to watch it on TV."

He happened to mention this one one of his fares, Liz Willock, who works for a firm that transports medical patients to clinical trials. She offered to use her professional connections to fund a trip to Rio for Ellis. "You're an Olympic father! You need to go," she told him.  She launched a GoFundMe campaign to send the Olympian's father to Rio, and it raised $8,200, easily exceeding the $7,500 goal. A United Airlines pilot donated airline miles to cover Ellis' flight to Brazil. Ellis has never travelled outside the US before, and is excited to watch his son compete in the games.

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