Cafe Maddy Cab: The free taxi service for Asian-Americans to feel safe on their commutes in NYC
The effort was started with $2,000 of Maddy Park’s own money, and now has over $100,000 in donations.
In the span of just two days, a woman in New York crowdfunded over $100k to help give free taxi rides to vulnerable members of the Asian-American community who may be wary of walking alone.
In early April, Maddy Park, a young Korean woman who hosts virtual kimchi cooking classes, had the idea to offer the service, and created the Instagram account: @cafemaddycab.
The account features a Google form that Asian New Yorkers can fill out to request transportation help. Money is sent through the money payment service application Venmo.
“Paying cab rides for: Asian women, LGBTQ, Asian elderly in NYC in need,” reads Cafe Maddy Cab’s profile bio.
Park launched the initiative due to the recent rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and targeted harassment that’s been occurring since the start of the pandemic. An unfortunate number of assault victims have been Asian women and elders, but the fear is felt by all in the community.
After watching news reports covering anti-Asian attacks, Park began fearing for her own safety while commuting.
She told WABC that when she took the train recently for a 30-minute commute, she realized that every minute of the commute, she was terrified.
“I was scared that any moment in time someone might say a racial slur or attack me. Worst of all I thought that if something were to happen to me, nobody would stand up,” Park said.
Using taxi services are a great alternative to public transportation, but Park knows that not every New Yorker has the disposable income to use them on a regular basis. With the help of her friends, she started Cafe Maddy Cab using $2,000 that she already had.
In a survey published over the weekend, @NYTimes journalists identified 110 hate incidents with clear evidence of racial motivation, using law enforcement data and media reports from across the country. Read more about their findings in their report here: https://t.co/fHa7NsczeR
— Stop AAPI Hate (@StopAAPIHate) April 7, 2021
News quickly spread about her account and she soon began receiving donations from people nationwide who wanted to support.
“It really opened my eyes to how many people are actually supporting the Asian community in New York City,” Park said.
Park also said the people donating are from states all over the country, and are of all different races and ethnicities.
They sent Park messages saying that they really want Asian-Americans in NYC to be safe, and that they’re donating so that more people can take rides in the city.
According to ABC News, Park is looking for more ways to provide support since many Asian senior citizens are not aware of how to use Venmo and other online payment services.
Her project thrived to the point that donations were temporarily closed, as it surpassed Venmo’s weekly payout limit. Park then moved onto PayPal.
In a recent social media post, Park thanked all who donated for their “solidarity, generosity and kind words and support for the AAPI community.”
“The point of this is to allow you to make the decision to be safe when you are about to be in a risky place or situation because a ride costs too much. So keep this post in mind for your safety,” she wrote.