Good Samaritan gifts new ride to Lyft driver whose car was stolen

McCall Pest Control COO John Cooksey gives Chevrolet Impala to Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams pictured in his new car.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville Lyft driver whose car was stolen was gifted a new car Friday.

McCall Pest Control Chief Operations Officer John Cooksey gave Jesse Williams a new set of wheels so he could get back to work.

Williams told News4Jax that his car was stolen by a customer while he was on the job last week. Williams said he stopped at the Speedway gas station on Lane Avenue South near Interstate 10 to get gas about 1:30 a.m. May 8 and when he went inside to pay for the gas, he saw his car pulling out of the gas station. He said that was the last time he saw his car. 

He had to hitchhike to get a ride home and, in the process, he made a new friend for life. 

"I saw Jesse hitchhiking. He was getting on the I-10 off of the McDuff on-ramp and I saw him and I could tell he had a disability.  And I passed him at first because I couldn’t slow down fast enough, but I turned around at Lane Avenue and went back to get him," Cooksey said. "I tell you what, it was the greatest thing I ever did."

In 2007, Williams was kicked in the head by a horse at a rodeo event in Georgia and suffered a traumatic brain injury.

"He told me his story, but it doesn’t hit you until you actually see what happened to him on film," Cooksey said. "I was blown away when I saw it."

Cooksey said he has a special-needs daughter and when he saw Williams, he knew he had to help him.

"I would hope that someone would do the same thing for her if she was in his boat," Cooksey said. 

Cooksey wasn’t finished with his good deeds by giving Williams a ride. He wanted to get Williams back in a car and back to work.

"So he can work as a Lyft driver, he can get to his house, he can pick up his daughter, he can live life just like he should be able to," Cooksey said.

So on Friday, Cooksey and Williams reunited when Cooksey gave him a 2010 Chevrolet Impala with no strings attached.

"I’m blessed. It’s a blessing, you know.  I don’t care how old this car is or what kind of shape it’s in. I can go from A to B, no questions asked. This is a huge blessing," Williams said. "Out of the goodness of his heart, he gives me a ride, then gives me a car. It’s pretty awesome."

Williams' car that was stolen is a charcoal gray 2015 Toyota Corolla. The license plate number is KMVL43. He said the car has a handicapped sign and a college graduation tassel hanging in the front. 

Williams is asking the community to be on the lookout for his car. He asks anyone with information to call him at 904-238-4694.

About the Authors:

Joy Purdy co-anchors the 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts with Tarik Minor and the 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts with Kent Justice.