Tammy Rivera is a single mother of two who works as an Uber driver. One day in early March during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she was driving a nurse home from an overnight shift at Germantown Methodist Hospital. The nurse was drained and famished and asked Tammy if she minded stopping for food on the way home. As the nurse informed the driver, the cafeteria in the hospital was closed down in the evenings. This meant that night-shift nurses who didn’t bring food with them were left to either go without a meal or forage amongst the vending machines for a snack.
Tammy was moved by this admission. She was struck by the thought of frontline heroes having to either go without food or snack on pitiful junk and became inspired to begin delivering hot meals to the affected COVID-19 nurses. The next day, after her chat with the nurse, Tammy logged onto her Facebook in order to share her idea of supporting the nurses. The offers of donations for food quickly began to flood in.
Within the ensuing two months, Tammy had managed to hand-delivered 3,500 meals to the doctors and nurses of Germantown Methodist. All the food came from locally-owned restaurants. And she managed to do it with the aid of her faulty, old car.
Tammy described her vehicle to WMC Action News 5 as, “Kind of like a box of chocolates I never knew what I was going to get when I started the car.”
But her kindness was about to be repaid in a very big way. Tammy’s story soon began to attract worldwide attention, including that of celebrities. Jada Pinkett Smith saw Tammy and invited her on to do a special Mother’s Day segment on her Facebook web series, Red Table Talk. Jada was joined by her mother Adrienne and daughter Willow.
Getting invited onto Jada’s show wasn’t the only highlight that Tammy was about to enjoy. She was wished a Mother’s Day from the Germantown Methodist staff but after the warm regards, Jada was ready to reveal the big surprise.
As Jada revealed, there was a rumor around the Smith Family Foundation that Tammy had been experiencing a few car troubles.
And with that, she announced, “And we know that that is your livelihood, and that’s your office, and that is also your chariot of service. So we want to purchase, for you, an eco-friendly car. A brand new one, for Mother’s Day.”
Tammy was immediately brought to tears and only managed to tell the three women that they were an inspiration as she sobbed.
Tammy, who has continued to make deliveries each night, later shared with WMC Action News that she has never experienced such kindness as what Jada Pinkett Smith and the Smith Family Foundation had done for her.
For those who would like to help Tammy continue her meal deliveries, donations can be made through Venmo, PayPal, or her GoFundMe account.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.