Young Man Rides The Bus Alone To His High School Graduation With No One There To Support Him — So A Kind Stranger Steps In

His powerful story has inspired countless people across the country.

high school graduates holding hands lifting them to the sky Ground Picture / Shutterstock

High school graduation is a big deal. Anyone who makes it there has worked incredibly hard and deserves recognition. 

Often, this comes with support from family and a special day. One student didn’t have any of that, but he still inspired many.

An Alabama student had to take the bus to get to graduation.

In 2018, high school senior Corey Patrick prepared for his graduation ceremony, according to WBRC 6.


“His family didn’t have transportation to get him there, but he was determined to make it,” the news station said.

@thebhayesshow2 Teen Is Photographed Walking at 4 AM to Reach His Graduation – So a Stranger Gifts Him a Brand New Car#news #fyp #foryou #explore #thebhayesshow ♬ original sound B Hayes

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TikToker Rashawn Copeland made a video about Patrick and detailed more of his story.

“He wasn’t met by some nice decked out limousine with his family and friends ready to celebrate him and take him to his graduation,” Copeland stated. “He was actually met by a city bus where he had to jump on all alone and go to this graduation all alone.”

This was far from Patrick’s first time taking the bus, though. Upworthy noted that Patrick had started doing so earlier in the year when his family moved from his hometown so he could still graduate with his class.

young man at bus stop Chalabala / Canva Pro


“Patrick had attended school in Tarrant, Alabama, since the fourth grade. So when his family moved far away from his high school, he decided that he was going to do whatever it took to stay with his classmates,” they said. “For him, that meant getting up at 4:30 a.m. every morning so he could catch the bus at 5:41 a.m. It was a trip he took every morning this school year.”

When Patrick needed to get to his graduation, his mom, Felicia White, told him it was time to take the bus one more time. She told WBRC 6, “I told Corey, well, the best thing to do is just get on the bus, and we will work from there.”

Patrick made it to his graduation, where he was able to walk with his classmates and receive his diploma. WBRC reported that his family even got a ride and got to go see him do so.

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Patrick’s story, along with photos of him taken by the bus driver, went viral. People Magazine said they made it all the way to Rickey Smiley, a Georgia radio DJ.

Smiley decided to give Patrick a car, along with help to get his license.

“Little buddy wanted to do this, trying to get no hype on the internet or trying to get no hype on the radio. He did it because he wanted his high school diploma,” Smiley said.

At the time, People Magazine reported that Patrick planned to study computer science at Jacksonville University, where he received a full-ride scholarship.

Patrick’s story inspired countless people.

In addition to the car Patrick received from Smiley, a Go Fund Me page was created for him. It raised over $29,000.


Patrick’s story also made its way into multiple TikToks, Instagram posts and other forms of social media and received local and national news coverage.

His story surely reached thousands, if not millions, of people.

Convoy of Hope stated, “Whether an inspiring narrative is fictional or a true story, it can serve as a powerful tool for personal growth.”


Other students who are disadvantaged can learn of Patrick’s story and be inspired by it. He has shown the power of determination, perseverance and grit. His story is proof that even things that seem difficult are doable.

We can all learn something from Patrick and his willingness to wake up before dawn to take a bus route to a far-away school all so he could graduate with his classmates.

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news and human interest topics.