Luigi waits for no one. Instead, he's in the driver's seat -- and he's helping others. The Bussani Mobility team in Mamaroneck, NY, customized his 2010 VW Routan with EMC driving aids, so Luigi drives from his wheelchair using an electronic brake and throttle operated by hand and an electronic remote steering wheel. His story (below) was originally posted on the Uber blog on May 27, 2015 by Mikaela.
Today, we’re going Behind the Wheel with Luigi, one of our top-rated uberX partners here in Connecticut. Luigi was born and raised in Italy outside of Venice. His 2 oldest children spent most of their childhood there until Luigi and his wife decided to move to the US. He now lives with his family in Rye, NY.
Luigi first learned about Uber from his 18-year old son. Currently enrolled at the University of Miami, his son uses Uber to get around. Though Luigi had already built a career in the jewelry industry (he still commutes into Manhattan’s diamond district during the week), he was looking to supplement his income with part-time work. After hearing about the Uber platform, he decided to sign up and give it a try. He’s now been driving for 3 months in Connecticut.
When you ask Luigi what his favorite sport is, his answer is immediate: Skiing. His face lights up if you bring it up in conversation. It’s surprising to learn, then, that it was in fact a skiing accident 8 years ago that left him a quadriplegic. Luigi didn’t think he would drive again, but a friend (also a quadriplegic) said to him, “If you can touch your nose, you can drive a car.” Four years after his accident, Luigi was driving independently.
Though Luigi is in a wheelchair with limited upper body mobility, he has been driving for the last 4 years. He had to wait over a year for his car to get equipped with the appropriate ramp and steering capabilities—but the wait was well worth it. Luigi now drives using a touch screen and an arm rest that acts like a joy stick.
He loves getting out of the house and hates staying inactive for too long. (His 8-year old helps keep him busy.) Driving with Uber on the weekends offers him not only the opportunity to make extra money, but to also explore his surrounding neighborhoods and meet new people.
When he’s not at work or driving with Uber, you may find Luigi at Burke Hospital counseling people who have recently suffered traumatic accidents like his own. By sharing his own story with patients, he hopes to show them the many opportunities they still have as quadriplegics. Luigi’s ultimate goal is to, “Bring more wheelchair accessible options with Uber to Fairfield County.” As we work toward growing and expanding service options in Connecticut, we look forward to seeing Luigi’s goal achieved.