Ever offer someone a ride? Sure you have. Ever hitched a ride yourself? Probably. Giving a lift to someone — be it a friend, family member, or even a stranger — is probably one of the more commonplace instances of people helping people.
And sharing a ride has benefits beyond getting from Point A to Point B.
Consider that there are 128.3 million commuters in the United States, according to Department of Transportation statistics. About 10 percent of those folks carpool.
The average carpooler can save up to $600 in commuting costs each month, according to Florida Department of Transportation calculations. Use of HOV lanes can also cut commuting times by as much as half. (The average American spends 42 hours a year stuck in traffic.) By carpooling just twice a week, 1,600 pounds of greenhouse gases can be kept out of the air each year.
So sharing the ride helps the world as well as the travelers themselves. But it can also go beyond just giving the occasional ride. It’s making sure someone always has a ride.
Take, for example, the employees at Firestone Complete Auto Care in Columbia, South Carolina. One of their number was quitting because, between medical expenses and needed car repairs, she couldn’t make the long commute to work any longer. So they all chipped in and raised enough money to get her car rolling again.
“When you see something going on, you always want to be there for your teammates,” the shop’s manager, Charlie Brown, told a local TV station. “We did something that was helpful for someone else. That’s just what you do.”
And then there’s Justin Korva, a 20-year-old who was walking a total of six miles to and from his job at a Mexican restaurant in Rockwall, Texas. A stranger picked him up and gave him a ride on one particularly hot day. Impressed with his attitude and determination, that stranger started via Facebook a community effort to raise enough money to buy Korva a car. The effort raised more than $5,500 plus caught the attention of a car dealer willing to provide a car at a discount, enabling enough money to be left over for insurance and gas.
"We just want you to know, seriously, this community, nothing we love better than to have someone who works hard," one of the fundraisers told Korva when they gave him the car. "We take a lot of pride in that. It's so hot out here, I can't believe you walk even one mile in this heat."
Whether it’s a community, coworkers, or carpoolers, sharing the ride is the kind of everyday interdependence that MassMutual values and celebrates. It’s the strength of Live Mutual.
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This article was originally published in June 2017.