Esther is passionate about the Jeep brand and gave herself a Compass as a gift when she retired. Her goal now is to get a Renegade to go on off-road adventures.
Just like Cris, who loves to drive to relax and doesn't even mind the chaotic traffic in Belo Horizonte (MG), where she lives, retired administrative assistant Esther Rose de Almeida Mendes, 56, reports a similar feeling in São Paulo (SP). “I feel powerful driving. If I am feeling anxious, I then feel calm”, she says. She considers being behind the wheel her great pleasure: "When I’m all worked up about something, I get into the car and drive around".
Esther is passionate about automobiles and a few years ago started a love relationship with the Jeep brand because she loves adventures and off-road experiences. “I broke free after retiring. I decided to give myself a Jeep as a present to myself for all my years of struggling. I took on my curly hair and filled my left arm with tattoos”, she says, proudly.
Since she was little, she had a dream (literally, without the metaphorical interpretation!) that she worked in a place full of cars. That was it: she spent a good part of her life working professionally in dealerships. “There is a big prejudice, people think that women don't understand cars. I used to sell cars and I even heard that I didn't have the 'right look' for the job, because I'm a woman and because I'm black”, she says. Similar situations have already happened in traffic, with phrases like "your place is in the kitchen" which she has heard many times.
Esther says that she started to like the four wheeled universe because of her “step grandfather”, her mother Lídia's boss, when working as a cleaning lady. “We had nowhere to live, let alone have a car, and that was my dream. I managed to do it: I was over twenty years old!”. She was the one who encouraged her husband to take an interest in cars, and says she is always upset when, at dealerships, salespeople will talk to him directly, thinking she doesn't understand anything about cars. "He says: ' she’s the one who understands, she’s the one who commands'", he narrates.
“A passenger told me once that the right steering wheel for me was the lid on the pan”
Another person who has loved cars since childhood is Viviane Andrea de Carpini, who is 40 years old and the first mobile app driver in Belo Horizonte, for the past four years. “My grandfather was a bus driver and he liked to buy old cars and restore them in his garage. I remember the smells when I was polishing parts for him”, she recalls. The father's family also had an auto parts shop. Viviane has two brothers, but she was the only one who inherited this passion for generations.
She says that many passengers look at her funny when they realize that it’s a woman answering the call. One of the most explicit cases of sexism that she has ever suffered happened at the end of a ride. “After all the care and dedication, I had to hear from the passenger that the right steering wheel for me was the lid on the pan. This is a ridiculous situation”. Even more when you consider that Viviane has collected praises from passengers on the nearly eight thousand trips she has already made: “They say that I am an excellent driver, attentive and that I value safe driving”, she says.