When a woman realized her Uber driver was an Olympic dad, she decided to send him to Rio.

Ellis Hill had never driven his Uber across the river before.

Ellis Hill (right) and Liz Willock. Photo by Ellis Hill and Liz Willock/GoFundMe.


However, shuttling a passenger over the bridge to New Jersey was just the latest in a series of firsts for the Philadelphia resident in July. His son Darrell, a Penn State track and field star, had just made the U.S. Olympic team for shot put on his first try.

Ellis never really thought about joining him in Rio de Janeiro. Traveling to South America, he explained, was simply more than he could afford.

"It wasn't in the cards at all," Ellis told Upworthy. "I was thinking about getting a good bag of popcorn and sitting down to watch it on TV."

But his passenger on that Uber trip, Liz Willock, had other ideas.

"I was just crushed because any good parent would want to see their son or daughter compete as Olympian," Willock told Upworthy. "I said, 'Ellis, you're an Olympic father! You need to go.'"

Willock, who works for a company that transports medical patients to and from clinical trials, quickly realized she could use her professional connections and experience to fund and plan a trip to Rio for him.

After consulting with Ellis' son Darrell, Willock launched a GoFundMe campaign to send the Olympian's father to Rio.

The effort raised $8,200, easily exceeding its $7,500 goal.

Willock credits the efforts of dozens of strangers for helping make the fundraiser a success, including a United Airlines pilot who donated airline miles to cover Ellis' flight to Brazil and the family of Joe Kovacs, Darrell's teammate, who were the first to donate and plan to meet Ellis when he arrives in the city.

Ellis, who has never traveled out of the country before, said that he's "ecstatic" to have the opportunity to watch his son compete in the games.

"This is really a big deal in our family right now," he said.


Darrell's cheering section back home includes his mother, siblings, grandparents, and friends from all over the country — including Ellis' new colleagues at Uber, among whom he's become a celebrity.

Though he doesn't expect to see Darrell until after he competes, Ellis explained that getting to soak in his son's success is its own reward.

The Olympic rings in Rio. Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images.

"It's just an awesome experience for a kid to put forth the effort and stick to it over the years, and actually train ... and get it on the first time around," he said.

While he would be thrilled if Darrell were to come home with a medal, Ellis said he'll be impressed regardless.

"The family and friends are extremely happy, and we're just waiting for him to stay focused and put forth the best effort he possibly can for himself."

More
Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

If you're a woman and you want to be a CEO, you should probably think about changing your name to "Jeffrey" or "Michael." Or possibly even "Michael Jeffreys" or "Jeffrey Michaels."

According to Fortune, last year, more men named Jeffrey and Michael became CEOs of America's top companies than women. A whopping total of one woman became a CEO, while two men named Jeffrey took the title, and two men named Michael moved into the C-suite as well.

The "New CEO Report" for 2018, which looks at new CEOS for the 250 largest S&P 500 companies, found that 23 people were appointed to the position of CEO. Only one of those 23 people was a woman. Michelle Gass, the new CEO of Kohl's, was the lone female on the list.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Netflix

How much of what we do is influenced by what we see on TV? When it comes to risky behavior, Netflix isn't taking any chances.

After receiving a lot of heat, the streaming platform is finally removing a controversial scenedepicting teen suicide in season one of "13 Reasons Why. The decision comes two years after the show's release after statistics reveal an uptick in teen suicide.

"As we prepare to launch season three later this summer, we've been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show. So on the advice of medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we've decided with creator Brian Yorkey and the producers to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season one," Netflix said in a statement, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

At Trump's 'Social Media Summit' on Thursday, he bizarrely claimed Arnold Schwarzenegger had 'died' and he had witnessed said death. Wait, what?!


He didn't mean it literally - thank God. You can't be too sure! After all, he seemed to think that Frederick Douglass was still alive in February. More recently, he described a world in which the 1770s included airports. His laissez-faire approach to chronology is confusing, to say the least.

Keep Reading Show less
Democracy

Words matter. And they especially matter when we are talking about the safety and well-being of children.

While the #MeToo movement has shed light on sexual assault allegations that have long been swept under the rug, it has also brought to the forefront the language we use when discussing such cases. As a writer, I appreciate the importance of using varied wording, but it's vital we try to remain as accurate as possible in how we describe things.

There can be gray area in some topics, but some phrases being published by the media regarding sexual predation are not gray and need to be nixed completely—not only because they dilute the severity of the crime, but because they are simply inaccurate by definition.

One such phrase is "non-consensual sex with a minor." First of all, non-consensual sex is "rape" no matter who is involved. Second of all, most minors legally cannot consent to sex (the age of consent in the U.S. ranges by state from 16 to 18), so sex with a minor is almost always non-consensual by definition. Call it what it is—child rape or statutory rape, depending on circumstances—not "non-consensual sex."

Keep Reading Show less
Culture