An Alabama teenager got the ultimate high school graduation gift after an inspiring photo of him trekking to school on foot in his cap and gown went viral.
Corey Patrick received a new car Friday from radio host Rickey Smiley after an outpouring of support for the teen, who was photographed walking to catch a bus to his Tarrant High School graduation in Tarrant, Ala.
The viral photos were captured by bus driver DeJuanna Beasely, who said she was inspired by the boy’s determination.
“I did it to inspire people on my page,” she told CBS42 of posting the images, which have since amassed more than 42,000 shares. “I didn’t do it because I knew him. I just did it because he got on my bus and I was inspired that he got on by himself and he was so determined to get it with no one backing him.”
Patrick had attended Tarrant schools since elementary school, but recently moved with his mom to a town about 14 miles away, mom Felicia White told WBRC.
Not wanting to miss out on senior year with his friends, Patrick woke up at 4:30 each morning to make it to a 5:41 a.m. bus, as his family had no means of transportation.
“Even when he would get out of school he couldn’t get from that side of town until 5:19 when the bus runs back over there,” White said. “So he doesn’t make it back this way until about 6:30 or 7 o’clock.”
Shortly after Beasely’s post went viral May 22, Smiley, who hosts a self-titled radio show, took notice, and gifted the teen with a car Friday at the 95.7 JAMZ studio.
“We did it!! We gave Corey Patrick a car of his own!!!!” Smiley wrote on Twitter, with a photo of Patrick and his new ride.
The recent grad has reportedly been offered a full scholarship to Jacksonville University, and told Smiley he wants to major in computer science.