Daniel Haley had the ride of his life in August
The West Valley City resident went from rounding up shopping carts and helping customers load their groceries in their cars at Lucky Supermarket at 3500 South near Redwood Road to spending a few days being chauffeured in luxury vehicles here and in Connecticut and generally being treated like a celebrity.
It was all courtesy of Dream Ride 2022, a fundraising event of The Hometown Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization committed to supporting other organizations dedicated to helping people with various needs. One of those on the receiving end of the Hometown’s support is Special Olympics, which gives kids and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to compete in Olympic-style sports competitions to build self-confidence by discovering “new strengths and abilities, skills and success,” according to its website.
The 49-year-old Haley happens to be a decorated Utah Special Olympian selected to represent the state at Dream Ride.
Haley got the VIP treatment from the start with a special cheesecake dessert in the Delta Airlines pilots lounge at Salt Lake City International Airport. Then he was driven in a Porsche out to the tarmac to board his flight to the Constitution State.
Upon arrival, he and other Special Olympians were given a police escort to the site of Dream Ride in a variety of classy and classic cars. Haley’s ride was a white Cadillac Escalade.
Haley has won some 17 medals and ribbons competing in a variety of sports, some of which adorned the sweatshirt he was wearing. “Soccer, softball, basketball and snowshoeing,” he reeled off.
“He’s learning golf this year,” said Haley’s mother, Kay, noting he would compete in his first golf tournament that upcoming Saturday.
Haley and the other Olympians were given red carpet treatment at Dream Ride, including being put up in an upscale hotel. “I loved it,” he said. And his mom added, “The accommodations were amazing.”
Lucky store director, Greg Lenox, knew he had an Olympian on his staff and at the same time was aware that the parent company Albertsons supports Special Olympics. He contacted people at the corporate level to see if they could help Haley get to this year’s Dream Ride.
“Albertsons does this sponsorship of Special Olympics every July,” Lenox said. He got the go-ahead to have posters featuring Haley placed in his and other company stores as far away as Nevada and an option for shoppers to donate to the cause via point-of-sale keypads at check stands. “It kind of snowballed from there,” Lenox said. “We raised about $3,500. Next year we want to go bigger.”
Before then, however, hot dogs and drinks will be sold and other attractions will be featured in the store parking lot (1585 W. 3500 South) on Nov. 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to help raise additional funds for Special Olympics. λ