Toronto Uber driver decked out her van for Valentine's Day to make passengers smile
This wheelchair-accessible Dodge is possibly the most romantic looking van in the city.
Complete with glittery heart gardlands, plush teddy bears, chocolates, balloons and even a bottle of champagne, this Uber ride is sure to set the mood for Valentine's Day.
Forest Atkinson, the brains behind the over-the-top Uber van, told blogTO she likes to decorate her ride for the holidays to bring joy and cheer to her passengers.
"I've heard a lot of bad things about wheeltrans and so I make a big effort to help those who need help. If there is something you can do to make someone smile you should do it," she said.
For Christmas, she decorated her van with lights and a three-foot tree. It was covered by various local media outlets and the response from her passengers was overwhelming
"As soon as someone gets into the car it brightens their day," Atkinson told blogTO, something which she feels is necessary given her clientele and the current state of the world.
"Because it's a wheelchair van, I have children as young as four years old. For kids that are disabled this is a little bit of joy."
People now recognize Atkinson's van and can't help but take pictures and gloat to their friends that they got to ride in the infamous Uber. There's even an entire Instagram account dedicated to it.
"I love having the Instagram just for the wheelchair van. It brings all those people together. That has been how some people in wheelchairs have found me," she said.
So, as Valentine's Day approached, Atkinson knew she had to do something.
"I couldn't imagine driving that vehicle with nothing in it. I wasn't thinking ahead but then Christmas was over and my mind was already going to go to what can I do next. So I was thinking about what I could replace the tree with."
Turns out that something was a lot of hearts and stuffed bears.
I drive an Uber wheelchair accessible van in Toronto! This is how I decorated it for valentines to make my passengers smile 😃 ❤️😁🥰🎉❤️ from r/MadeMeSmile
Atkinson posted the decorated interior to Reddit forum r/MadeMeSmile yesterday. The video features Atkinson dressed in some impressive costumes and gives a full tour of the van's decor.
The driver told blogTO that decorating took about five hours and included a trip to Guelph to get the stuffed bears. They were lovingly donated for free from a woman on Kijiji.
And while it hasn't been decorated for long, the response to the van's love-bombed interior has been nothing short of spectacular.
"I have had reactions that have made me so happy. I couldn't imagine them getting into the car and not smiling," Atkinson said.
Although there were a couple negative comments on Reddit about the safety of the van, she clarified in a comment that the bubbly and balloons were just for the video and that she wears a mask while driving passengers.
"I wish I could offer all my passengers free champagne but I'm pretty sure it's illegal," she added in a telephone interview.
Atkinson also explained that she made sure all the decorations were properly secured and don't get in any passenger's way.
As for plans for future holidays Atkinson told blogTO she's already got ideas brewing for St. Patrick's Day and Easter.
"My mind is always thinking about how I can make things work," she said, explaining that she plans to reach out to local breweries for stickers and paraphenalia that she can decorate the van with and hopefully turn passengers on to some new brews.
But regardless of how the van is decorated, Atkinson's van is sure to be the talk of the town no matter what the holiday is.
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