Elderly transportation used to be a complete racket in Hong Kong. You had to hire freight taxis that typically transported machinery to transport your elderly parent in a wheelchair, and they’d charge you 3x the normal taxi rates. Not only did it break the bank, but it broke the morale of the old — that the sad day had come that they were no different than a piece of equipment taking up space in a van.
When her mom contracted brain cancer, this sad reality confronted Doris Leung. She wanted to give her mom more dignity, since the hospital trips were becoming a big part of both their lives. So she founded Diamond Cab, a taxi service to transport the elderly in a dignified way.
“Why did I name it Diamond? Because my mom likes diamond earrings. And as a reminder to those that are disabled, that you are a diamond. That you have the value in yourself.”
After 70,000 transportations of the elderly and their families, Doris started to really appreciated what it was like to get old. In many cases, it’s a lonely life and can be very depressing if you have a disability that impairs you from getting up and physically engaging with life. People start sidelining you, forgetting you…acting paternalistic towards you.
Doris realized, here was an opportunity to expand her business in a way that further expanded her mission. So she founded Diamond Leisure: a service that partnered with travel agencies, entertainment venues, and event companies to offer barrier-free experiences for the elderly so that they too could continue to enjoy life and play.
“This is what we need in the future. To not be trapped in the wheel chair at home. Instead, to go have fun.”
Watch the beautiful TED talk here. Be prepared for the chills at the end: