Uber won't be available in Western New York until the end of the month at the earliest, but one of the ride-sharing vehicles arrived early Monday morning ... from Chicago.
Bills cornerback Shareece Wright, not wanting to miss the team's practice, took a car all the way from the Windy City to Buffalo, racking up a $632.08 bill along the way. Wright left from Chicago's O'Hare airport, telling the Bills' official website Wednesday that he missed his connecting flight Sunday.
“My flight ended up getting in late, so I wasn’t able to make my connecting flight,” he told buffalobills.com. “I called one of my ex-teammates that lives in Chicago…and he wasn’t able to take me and Uber was my next thought.”
One of his representatives, Tamerat Berhe, tweeted that Wright left a $300 tip, bringing his total bill to a little less than $1,000.
— Tamerat Berhe, Esq. (@TamBerhe) June 6, 2017
The journey, which Mapquest pegs at 544 miles and estimates should take 8 hours, 37 minutes, was completed just in time, according to Wright.
"Meetings were at 7 and I made it to the facility at 6:57 or 6:58," Wright said. "So I was in a rush to make it inside. I gave him a $300 tip and he was really appreciative. I just told him 'Thank you man, I really appreciate it.' "
Wright, who signed with the Bills in May, is expected to compete for a reserve job behind starters Ronald Darby and Tre'Davious White. The 30-year-old explained to the team's website why he went to such great lengths to make it to a voluntary practice.
"It’s not even mandatory that we have to be here, but for me it is," he said. "I’m a veteran in this game, I’m here to lead by example and show how important it is. It’s only right that I do whatever I can to lead by example of how important it is to be here with my teammates and how important it is to be at practice to get better. I’m new to the team and I’m going to do whatever I can to play my role on this team."
Upon arriving at the team facility, Wright explained the situation to defensive backs coach Gill Byrd.
"He was like,'Are you alright?' He probably figured I wasn’t going to make it or something" Wright said, according to the team. "I said, 'yeah, I was calling you to give you a heads up that I might be a little bit late because I had to take an Uber from Chicago.' "
Byrd then had Wright tell his teammates about his trip.
"He gave me any opportunity ... to tell the story of what I went through before I started my day," he said. “He told me, 'Man that shows tremendous dedication. You could have easily said coach I missed my connection and I’ll be there first thing tomorrow.' "
As for why Wright didn't just rent a car and make the drive himself? Apparently, it was so that he could get some sleep before practice. Before he got some rest, Wright said he got to know his driver, Winny.
"He actually was a refugee," Wright said. "He was out in Chicago with no family. He had a handful of friends and is trying to be an astronaut. He didn’t know any English when he came. He’s been inspired by his dad [who was a pilot] so he’s just going to school and trying to be an astronaut – he’s paying for it by himself ... He had a great story to tell."
Wright gave Winny a five-star review, which seems fair after that type of trip.