A Chicago radio personality who learned about a man who was walking three hours each way to and from work after his truck broke down stepped in to raise money to ensure the man had a reliable way to travel.
Braxton Mayes, a 20-year-old former high school football player, has been walking 12 miles one way between the Chicago suburbs of Montgomery and Batavia to get to work ever since his 2006 GMC truck broke down after 300,000 miles.
When WLS 890 radio personality and DJ Ramblin’ Ray Stevens drove past Mayes multiple times and saw him walking, he offered the man a ride and learned of his ordeal. Stevens told Fox32 Mayes initially said he didn’t need a ride but that he ultimately helped him out after learning the distance Mayes was walking would have taken 30 minutes to cover in a vehicle.
“I ended up giving him a ride and we just talked. We talked about football, we talked about his mom and dad and where he worked and I said you know what, maybe I can help you with getting your truck fixed.”
Along with video posted to Stevens’ Facebook page on July 9, the radio personality explained why he wanted to help Mayes. “I was compelled to stop and ask this kid if he needed a ride,” the caption says. “Find a harder working kid. You won’t. He lives in Montgomery works for mosquito joes in Batavia on Fabyan parkway. Man that’s a hike.”
In the video, Stevens explained that he had seen Mayes walking as he was dropping a friend off at a studio, then saw him again when he turned around on his way back in the opposite direction.
“He leaves at 4 and walks three hours to get to his job at 7,” Stevens said. “Are you kidding me? This is the stuff movies are made out of, dude.” Stevens then made an appeal to listeners. “We’re gonna help Braxton Mayes get his truck fixed,” he said.
A GoFundMe page for Mayes raised more than $10,000 since July 9 as donations poured in. Friendly Ford volunteered to fix Mayes’ car, Stevens said in an update on July 12, and announced that leftover proceeds would be given to the Kane/Batavia food pantry.
“I just want to make sure he has a reliable truck to drive to work every single say,” Eric Schmit of Yackey’s Friendly Ford told ABC7.
Mayes expressed his gratitude for the support to ABC7, saying, “It brought me to tears,” adding, “I didn’t know when I would come up with the money to fix it or how many times I would have to walk.”
Stevens provided another update about Mayes’ car on July 14, writing, “his car has new tires, brakes, suspension parts. Alignment, engine wiring issue fixed, new battery, gassed up tuned up and the work at Friendly Ford continues.”