It's easy to see the bad in people: They behave terribly, they're angry, they're dangerous ... on and on. But what if instead of defining students by their worst, we define them by their beautiful, fierce, resilient best?
Veteran Chicago radio personality "Ramblin' Ray" Stevens was driving in his car two weeks ago when he passed Braxton Mayes, 20, several times.
"I was on my way home from work Friday and saw a young man walking down Kirk Road," Stevens later recalled. "I dropped my friend off at the studio I work out of and headed home. This young man was still walking. So I drove around the block and asked him if he needed a ride."
"In our town, we help people out," Stevens said.
After some hesitancy, the young man agreed. During the ride, Stevens learned that every day Mayes walks 12 miles between the west suburban towns of Montgomery and Batavia just to get to work. "It's just one of those things," Mayes told ABC 7. "You gotta do what you gotta do."
Chicago area man's car fixed after having to walk 6 hours a day to and from work www.youtube.com
Mayes hits the road walking every morning at 4 am to make it to his 7 am shift on time. Then, after his shift, he walks another three hours home. His long commutes on foot started after his 2006 GMC truck broke down.
The former high school football star says that he had no trouble walking because he was raised with a strong work ethic. "I was struggling to get a job for a good amount of time, and once I finally got a job, I mean, that was my chance, I had to keep it," Mayes said according to FOX 32. "So I had to do whatever I had to do."
Inspired by Mayes' commitment, Stevens put together a social media campaign to help get his car fixed. "Let's help Braxton get his truck fixed! Any other leftover money will go to Chicago area food banks," Stevens wrote on a GoFundMe page.
In just a few days, the campaign raised enough money to get the car fixed. "It brought me to tears," Mayes said. "I didn't know when I would come up with the money to fix it or how many times I would have to walk."
Over the course of two weeks, the campaign has already raised nearly $11,000.
"This guy checks all the boxes," Stevens said, according to People. "He's a good, solid human being. People are having a hard time finding people to work and here's a guy walking three hours one way just because his truck broke down."
A local Ford dealership stepped up and paid for all of the repairs the car needed to get it rolling down the road again, so the money from the GoFundme campaign will go to local food banks.
Now, Mayes should be able to get to work in about 25 minutes.
Thanks @BurtonABC7 and @KrasheskyABC7 for telling Braxton’s story pretty cool ending) @friendlyfordros https://t.co/ku4JNkR1KM— Ramblin' Ray (@Ramblin' Ray)1627010782.0
"The story of Braxton who was walking 3 hours to work one way has come to an end! Thanks to. @friendlyfordroselle for picking up the bill," Stevens wrote on Instagram.
Stevens hopes to take Mayes and his family to dinner in the near future to get to know them a bit better.