Sometimes, a photo goes viral for all the right reasons.
One day in May, a bus driver named Dee Bree saw a young man in his graduation cap and gown, heading towards the high school. Dee watched as the teen, Corey Patrick of Birmingham, Alabama, boarded her bus and rode for a few stops before getting off and continuing towards the ceremony on foot.
Dee was moved by what she’d seen, so she snapped a few pictures of Corey has he walked towards his graduation. She noticed that even though Corey was all alone, with no family or friends to support him on his big day, he seemed so determined that it was clear nothing could keep him away from his big day.
Dee shared the images on Facebook, and suddenly the post went viral.
“I did it to inspire people on my page,” Dee later explained. “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.”
Dee didn’t realize that Corey walking to his graduation by himself was just the tip of the iceberg. Soon, the details of how Corey had spent his past year came to light, and his story is even more incredible than we first thought.
Corey went to the same school from kindergarten until eleventh grade, when his family had to move about ten miles away. The young man was determined not to miss out on his final year with his schoolmates at Tarrant High School, so he decided to commute. The only problem was, he didn’t have a car.
Using public transportation was Corey’s only option, but taking the series of buses throughout Birmingham took him about ninety minutes one way. He started getting up at 4 in the morning and heading out the door to start his day by 4:30. At night, the weary teen would not get home until 6:30 or 7 PM.
In spite of the distance and the fatigue he must have experienced, Corey never stopped working hard to get his degree.
After Dee’s photo went viral, his community rallied around Corey, and a Birmingham DJ named Rickey Smiley took notice. Rickey had Corey on his morning radio show, where he revealed an incredible surprise.
Rickey presented Corey with a new car!
In more amazing news, a GoFundMe campaign was set up for Corey’s future college expenses, and it’s grown to over $21,000 so far! People from all over the country are contributing because they recognize strength and willpower when they see it.
We did it!! We gave Corey Patrick a car of his own!!!! pic.twitter.com/KFwwmUn7Gm
— Rickey Smiley (@RickeySmiley) May 25, 2018
Corey has now received a full scholarship to Jacksonville University, and we have no doubt that he’ll continue to put in the extra legwork needed to succeed in college.
Watch the big moment when Corey got his new ride below, and don’t forget to share.