For most of us, Valentine’s Day stands out as a special occasion of romance and roses. But for San Diego driver Amy Hegy, it’s just another day in The Love Lyft, a ride that's sweeping SoCal passengers off their feet.
“I’ve got hearts everywhere,” says Amy, describing the interior of her mustachioed Jeep. “I’m all about spreading the love.”
The story of The Love Lyft goes back to 1998, when Amy was involved in a tragic accident that had her in a wheelchair and on oxygen for seven years. “My life changed on a dime,” she reflects. “I realized there’s not a moment to waste.” Once fully recovered, she set out to share her newfound passion with the world — and then she discovered Lyft.
Amy originally intended to create The Bucket Lyft, where passengers would discuss their bucket list, but then destiny intervened.
One evening, she took two different sets of riders to the same bar – one carload of women, another of men. Both groups said they were looking for love that night, so Amy casually coached them on finding the right mate. A month later, she picked up a young couple in Pacific Beach and recognized both faces from those memorable bar trips. The two had been dating ever since and credited Amy with making the match.
“We’ve been looking for you!” they beamed. “You’re The Love Lyft in our eyes.”
The name stuck, and Amy soon expanded the theme to her entire in-car experience. In addition to hearts of all shapes and sizes, The Love Lyft features pink lights, feather boas, tutus, stickers, candy, and even fortune cookies to help riders “ease into conversation."
Amy often dons an ornate Cupid costume, and every passenger leaves with a glittery heart sticker. “They can either keep it or give it to their sweetie,” she explains. “A lot of men write their phone number on the sticker and give it to whomever strikes their fancy.”
She’s been surprisingly successful at sparking romance in her car, including during one ride that saw a young woman proposing marriage to her partner.
“My ideal would be to marry people,” says Amy, an ordained celebrant with wedding experience. “That’s the pinnacle of success.”
Amy’s mission to spread love is not limited to her time in Driver Mode. She’s a dedicated volunteer for the American Red Cross, and sees her humanitarian efforts as an extension of The Love Lyft. “I go out to big disaster zones, and on the worst day of someone’s life I can give them hope for the future,” says Amy. “If I can do that in my Lyft and out of my Lyft, then I have lived a successful life.”
For Amy, The Love Lyft represents the larger cultural values associated with the ‘stache. “It’s about spreading joyfulness and love to our community, and I think that that’s what differentiates Lyft.”
And that’s why, Amy says, every Lyft is a branch of The Love Lyft. “We’re about making people happier and feeling loved and special. I just happen to have it in name.”
Follow Amy's adventures from the road on Instagram: @TheLoveLyft.