Skip to main content

Cafe Maddy Cab: How this crowdfunded service is protecting the AAPI community

Cafe Maddy Cab is making NYC safer, one ride at a time

Citizens are getting creative when it comes to combating hate crimes in America. One of the most innovative and successful programs is Cafe Maddy Cab, which offers safe cab rides for the vulnerable. So far, the young program has offered thousands of rides in New York, where it’s based.

It all came about in 2020, in the wake of a hate crime spike. The pandemic revealed many things — and an underbelly of racism in this country was one of them. The AAPI community was and still is especially targeted. Many did not feel safe leaving their dwellings or riding public transportation.

Related Videos
A photo of Madeline Park.

That context led Madeline Park to act. The New Yorker started fundraising for safer rides under the moniker Cafe Maddy Cab in April of 2021. It was a hit, raising more than $250,000 and setting up 7,800 rides. The transportation aids the most vulnerable members of the AAPI community, namely the elderly, LGBTQ+ population, and women. By the summer of 2021, the funding had been spent and it appeared conditions were getting better, so the program retired.

But that retirement was short-lived. Cafe Maddy Cab is back, helping marginalized and targeted people who still do not feel safe. It came back to life in May of his year with new backing. The program is now working with Krave Beauty CEO Liah Yoo and sponsorship from the Asian Pacific Community Fund.

The idea is simple, effective, and very popular. Interested parties fill out a form either for themselves or as a sponsor for Park’s team to review. The program then issues Uber codes to cover the rides on a weekly basis. Park put in $2,000 of her own dough and started raising money for the concept after a public transportation commute to her job across town. She says the donations started piling up that very night and, with the service feeling imminently needed, Park got to work.

Park has lived in NYC for more than a decade. Originally born in Korea, she works as both a dentist and content creator in Brooklyn. Cafe Maddy Cab continues to depend largely on volunteers, for which Park is eternally grateful. “Everyone is working out of their time outside of their full-time jobs to help our community, and without them, there will be no Cafe Maddy Cab,” she says.

The organization is barely two years old but the inspiring stories are already piling up. “We got a request from somebody who needed a ride to a job interview because they had lost their previous job during the pandemic,” Park says. “And then a few weeks later, the same person updated us that they got the job and they needed a ride to the job. So it was incredible to feel so personally connected to the city even as we were spending hours behind the screen to run the program.”

Part of the program’s success is due to savvy social media navigation. Park has leveraged the likes of Instagram and TikTok to make the world aware of the important crowdfunding cab service. Celebrities have caught wind and spread the good word, sharing the info with their massive audiences and boosting the service at large.

Cafe Maddy Cab is one of many AAPI businesses readers should take note of. As NBC reports, crimes against the community increased more than threefold in the U.S. in 2021, an alarming figure to say the least. While there’s a threat, there needs to be protective services like this to keep people safe. Then, perhaps, Park and her crew move on to something else in the community’s name, when the present wave of danger has subsided (fingers crossed that it does soon).

“We want to run as long as we’re needed,” Park says. “But ultimately the goal is to live in a city and a country where this kind of organization isn’t needed anymore.”

Editors' Recommendations

Did you know you could go to a groundhog reveal (and they’re kind of a big deal)?
Meet the world's most famous groundhog in Punxsutawney, PA, and celebrate Groundhog Day
Couple posing at Gobblers Knob in Punxsutawney, PA

February 2 may conjure up memories of funny memes on social media using images from Bill Murray's cult classic 90s film Groundhog Day. Groundhog Day is a pretty big thing, especially for people living in Pennsylvania. Punxsutawney Phil, Groundhog Day's famous furry forecaster, is a local celebrity and the United States official groundhog — but did you know you can see him do his thing in person? It might sound a little weird, but the unveiling of a groundhog is something you can — and many people do — make the trek to.


Read more
15 true crime podcasts to obsess over this year
Try out some of our favorite true crime podcasts
headphone laptop podcast

As podcasts became more and more popular, true crime podcasts grew to be one of the medium's most popular genre. These stories thrilled listeners who wanted to inject a little excitement into their lives without facing any actual danger. All of this crystallized around the first season of Serial, which transformed everyone who listened to it into an investigative reporter, part-time detective, or  aspiring lawyer. Since then, that kind of amateur detective work has only become more common, and the internet has provided a safe space for people to speculate without directly harming those involved.

With so many true crime shows out there, there's something that's just right for whatever your tastes might be. From international conspiracies to horror podcasts about murders that rocked small towns, the true-crime genre contains multitudes.

Read more
You’re not imagining it: Winter weather is getting worse
Climate change is bringing in rougher winter weather
A 2016 blizzard in the United States.

Old news that is more relevant every day: Planet Earth continues its substantial warming, threatening and affecting life, liberty, and property with every new climate disaster.

The most recent example? Nearly 30 people died in Buffalo's most recent winter storm, per CNN, as the area was hit with more than 50 inches of snow. This follow's last month's winter storm, which dumped the fifth-highest amount of snow the region has ever experienced in a three-day period. More than 80 inches of snow stuck on the ground a full month before the official beginning of winter (per Fox Weather). Of the four Buffalo winter snowstorms preceded by last month’s dump, three of them occurred in the last 27 years — and Buffalo is far from unique among the world's cities experiencing record snowstorm weather events. (Just look at the most recent weather forecasts across the country.)

Read more