Before December 6, 2013, Travis Mayo would have been sleeping peacefully in his bed at 3 a.m. on a weekend or holiday morning. Likewise, if you would have said to Travis that the next morning at 7:45 am while driving to school, his 15 year old son Brandon would be killed by a driver under the influence and that he would then try to turn that act of selfishness into goodness, he would never have believed you. For the last year and a half, in an effort to honor his son and hopefully prevent more causalities on our roadways, Travis has spent his weekend and holiday 3 a.m.’s driving the streets of Lexington and Richland Counties as a driver for Uber.
Travis has a very kind disposition and attempts conversation with all of his riders. He says that 98% of his riders talk with him, and he shares Brandon’s story with each of them. For those that he can tell have been drinking, he thanks them for using Uber instead of getting behind the wheel and possibly causing the type of devastation that he and his family continue to suffer through.
On Travis’ left arm is a tattoo of Brandon, placed there after his death. One evening, he picked up a couple of college freshman on their way home from a party. One of the girls saw his arm and asked if he was Brandon’s dad. As fate would have it, she had been a friend and classmate of Brandon’s. The reality that Brandon too would have been a college freshman struck Travis. The girls talked with him about Brandon, sharing memories and stories, and hugged him as they exited his car.
Travis’ instinct as a father rides beside him as he delivers riders safely to their destinations. One cold night where the temperature was sitting at 23 degrees, he picked up a young woman who had been locked out of a home by her boyfriend after an argument. The young woman’s coat and purse were inside the home. Travis drove her to a Waffle House where he bought her a coffee and sat with her for 45 minutes until she could decide what to do and had someone pick her up.
Travis works every home USC football game. He drives before the game, but after the game is when he gets busy. He says, “Football season is a dangerous part of the year. People start tailgating around 10 am and end up in Five Points after the game.” When asked if he is concerned for his own safety, Travis stated that he would rather it be him behind the wheel taking the chance than an intoxicated driver. He told of a night where he had to quickly maneuver his car in order to avoid a collision. The passenger who had been complaining about the amount charged for the ride then thanked him and said that he knows he would never had been able to avoid the car in the condition he was in. He thanked Travis for saving his life.
Travis says, “It is tough to tell our story and what happened to Brandon. I just hope that when they get to the point that they should not drive that they remember that big tattooed guy who lost his son and they won’t.”
Travis and his family walk the journey of their lives every day without their sweet Brandon by their sides. They have watched as Brandon’s friends graduated high school, started college and began their lives as adults. For them, Brandon will forever be 15 years old with his dream of attending the University of Texas squarely in his sights. Travis has hope that one day no other family has to suffer the way his has. He shares Brandon’s story hoping to touch each life one Uber ride at a time. “Until we shine a light on it, it will never go away,” he says.