Trenton Lewis’ legs ached from the 11-mile walk he made every morning to get to his 4 a.m. shift. And yet the 21-year-old dutifully did it for seven long months.
He didn’t tell anyone. He’s never been one for excuses – especially when it comes to providing for his 14-month-old daughter, Karmen.
“My pride is strong,” he told CNN. “Whatever she needs, I’m the person who is supposed to provide it for her.”
But his co-workers at a UPS facility in Little Rock, Arkansas, found out. And last week, they decided to make things right.
They asked Lewis to come to a brief union meeting.
When he showed up, his stoic face gave way to disbelief and then a grateful smile as his coworkers handed him keys to a new car.
“I was emotionally moved. My heart just fell,” the young worker recalled.
Rallying behind a colleague
When Lewis began working at the UPS facility, he had no means of getting to and from work.
“I was banking on my feet,” he said.
So every morning, he walked, and kept most of his colleagues in the dark about his pre-dawn journey.
But every large workforce has that one “queen bee” who knows all and sees all.
For Trenton Lewis, that was Patricia “Mama Pat” Bryant.
“She was like a second mom,” Lewis said. “She actually got upset with me when she found out I was walking to work.”
Bryant and her husband, Kenneth, have both put in almost 40 years at UPS.
“For a young person to decide in their mind ‘if I don’t have a ride, if I can’t get a ride then I’ll walk,’” Kenneth Bryant said. “If a guy can do that, we can pitch in to help.”
The Bryants quietly shared Lewis’ story with their fellow workers and took up a collection to buy their determined colleague a car.
Most of the employees didn’t even know Lewis but were impressed with his grit.
Soon enough, the group raised almost $2,000.
The big reveal
“Everybody that I talked to said yes! The hardest part was reminding them to bring cash,” Kenneth Bryant said. “I told the seller what I was doing and who it was for and he said he was willing to work with me on a price.”
Bryant wanted everything to be perfect for the big reveal. He even went as far as fixing a small nick on the bumper.
The group lured Lewis to the parking lot for that brief “union meeting.” Kenneth Bryant reached into his pocket, pulled out the keys to the 2006 Saturn Ion and stunned Lewis.
“God always has something for you,” said Lewis. “I’m never going to forget this ever.”
Lewis thanked his co-workers profusely.
His first ride in the car was to pick up his daughter for a bite to eat.