Columbus Crew player drives family to hotel after game
Chris, Meg and Macklin Cantwell, 11, wandered Lower.com Field for more than an hour trying to find a taxi after several failed attempts to call an Uber to take them back to their hotel. When two men in a two-door Audi drove outside on the south side of the stadium, Chris sprinted towards the car to ask for a ride.
The driver was Crew right-back Steven Moreira.
“We were so desperate and Steven rolled down his window and had a cute friendly smiling face,” Chris said. “We basically explained our situation and he said, ‘Yeah, come in’.”
The Cantwells were in town for a youth football tournament with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds development academy. When they saw the Crew playing at home against DC United, they and the rest of the squad bought tickets for the game.
Macklin and his team had the opportunity to walk the field after the game. Once done, the area around Lower.com Field was virtually deserted, Chris said. They first tried to call an Uber inside the stadium, but those rides were way off.
They thought they could get a taxi outside the stadium, but there was nothing there. By then their phones were dead. The few taxis that showed up picked up large groups before the Cantwells could reach them. The stadium staff they asked for help also had no luck with Ubers.
Macklin turned to his mother and said, “That was the best night of my life and now it’s getting to be the worst.”
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As soon as he finished signing autographs, Moreira and his friend, Martin Quispe, left the stadium. When they pulled up to Nationwide Boulevard, they saw a man in a DC United jersey with his wife and son approach them and ask for a ride. Chris and Meg lived in Washington DC for about two decades.
The Cantwells were staying at the Crowne Plaza in Worthington, about 13 miles away. That didn’t bother Moreira. Chris offered Moreira $20 for the ride, which Moreira refused. After cramming three people into the back of his car, Chris and Meg began asking him if he had had a busy night. Moreira and Quispe started laughing.
“They think I’m an Uber,” Steven said.
It wasn’t until about 10 minutes into the ride that Quispe said “You know who that is, don’t you?”
“We’re like ‘No, who is it? ‘” Chris said. “He said ‘It’s Steven, he’s playing for the crew.’ We’re like, ‘No way!’ ”
“He’s 27, a professional football player, you wouldn’t imagine him driving soberly after a big win,” Meg said. “For him to be our Good Samaritan was really amazing.”
The group discussed the match for the rest of the trip back to the hotel. Once the Cantwells again thanked Moreira when he dropped them off, Moreira asked Macklin if he wanted his game-worn jersey. The two posed for a photo with the jersey and Moreira wished him well.
“I was just amazed,” Macklin said. “I was speechless the whole time.”
Having his number from sending him the picture the night before, Chris texted Moreira to tell him that Macklin made 13 saves in his game. Moreira replied, “Amazing save! Macklin Neuer!” referring to Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Macklin’s favorite player.
Moreira said he was just happy to help and make a child happy.
“Maybe I’m now the Uber driver for the Crew fans,” he said.
Chris and Meg plan to frame Moreira’s jersey and hang it in Macklin’s room. They have been adamant that they plan to return for another game in the future.
“We’re arranging transportation to and from next time,” Meg said.