A hard-working 19-year-old from Oxford, Alabama, Derrick Taylor is a package handler at a UPS Customer Center. Like many people, Taylor lives some distance away from his workplace.
Taylor’s job involves unloading and loading packages from UPS vans in return for an hourly wage of $11.90. However, until recently, his commute had been a little unusual. Taylor had to walk ten miles every day because he didn’t own a car.
In fact, the teenager would leave home in the middle of the night in order to arrive at work on time for 4:00 a.m. shifts. Then, when the working day was over, Taylor would set off on the long walk back home again too. He just didn’t have the spare cash to splash out on a vehicle.
It was a daily display of impressive dedication for such a young man. But there was something serious driving his work ethic. Taylor’s mom is sick, and the 19-year-old is determined to care for her and earn enough to cover their bills.
In fact, in order to look after his mom, Taylor has been working since he was just 14 years old. He has big dreams of going to college one day to study music engineering. But for now, he has been putting his mom first and keeping on working… and walking.
Taylor has supportive work colleagues who would offer to drive him to and from work, but he rarely accepted a ride from them. The 19-year-old was a little too proud to let others help him, so would continue his long commute by foot.
But one day, in February 2017, Taylor got the surprise of his life. He and all his colleagues were called outside to the parking lot at work. Then, they stood around waiting for operations clerk James Ward to reveal why they had been assembled.
As shown in a video that was later uploaded to Facebook, Ward said, “I want to call Mr. Derrick Taylor out here.” He continued, “Come on out here and talk to me for a sec.” What then happened was truly heartwarming.
“This young man wants to work so bad that he walks to work and he lives way down in the south-west county,” Ward announced to the crowd. And then, from his pocket, he produced some keys.
“The group here, we’ve got some good news for you. Everybody came together and you don’t have to walk no more,” said Ward. “You’ve got your own ride.” Ward then handed the car keys over to Taylor. The young man couldn’t believe it.
To Taylor’s disbelief, his colleagues had indeed secretly clubbed together and bought him a car. They all knew about his tough journey to work every day and wanted to do something to help make his life a touch easier.
Coworker Allie Steen’s video captured the shock on Taylor’s face when he realized what his generous colleagues had done for him. There in front of him stood a dark green Jeep Cherokee that he knew would change his life.
Taylor had in fact already passed his driving test, but had never been able to afford a car. His colleagues had not only bought the $1,100 jeep for him, but some had also cleaned it up and made some repairs.
“We want you to know we appreciate your hard work,” Ward said, as Taylor took in the news. Clearly overwhelmed by their generosity, a tearful Taylor addressed the crowd of colleagues gathered around him and thanked them.
He then went to admire his new ride, opening the door to get a good look inside. Once he was over the initial shock, Taylor spoke to the Daily Mail. He said he was “overwhelmed with joy,” adding that it made him cry, despite him not being the “type to show my emotions.”
Since then, Taylor’s story has gone viral online. The footage was uploaded to Facebook by his colleague Steen, with the caption, “At UPS we take care of our own. Derrick walked to work everyday rain or shine because he didn’t have a car. We all pitched in and took care of him.”
The video attracted more than four million views within a couple of weeks. Unsurprisingly, the reaction to the story has been overwhelmingly positive, with nearly 90,000 comments pouring in. People found the generosity of the UPS workers deeply moving.
Taylor himself commented, saying, “I’m more than thankful and appreciative for what my co-workers have done for me. They all are a blessing and I’ll never be able to thank them enough. I’ll never forget it!” This comment alone received around 3,000 likes.
Another user, Kia Vonshá, commented on the video. “I love this! People don’t realize the impact you can make on another person’s life by just reaching back to help someone in need,” she wrote. “Hats off to all of you.” Since receiving the car, Taylor updated his Facebook profile picture to show him taking his girlfriend, Miriam, out for a drive.
Taylor’s story goes to show that hard work does not always go unnoticed. Indeed, it often earns its reward, one way or another. Looking to the future, meanwhile, Taylor told the Daily Mail that he hopes to progress within UPS and one day get a degree. If anyone can do it, this dedicated young man can.