Coronavirus impacts well-known ‘Mama Lisa’ ride sharing driver

Published: Mar. 25, 2020 at 11:09 PM EDT
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outbreak has impacted ride sharing drivers in our hometowns.

Melissa Gardner, known as Mama Lisa to Virginia Tech students, stopped driving the ‘Hokie-mobile’ around the New River Valley a few weeks ago.

She said two years ago she got whooping cough unexpectedly. She couldn’t explain where she got it other than she had given two students with bad coughs a ride to a health center prior to contracting it.

“It taught me that being in an enclosed area such as a car that close, even though they were sitting in the back seat, it can be very contagious in a car,” Gardner said. “I think it’s important for all of us as a community to do what the governor has asked us to do and to self-quarantine and keep everyone safe and not be the spreader.”

Because her husband was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and the risk of COVID-19 spreading in enclosed spaces, she decided to take time off from what she loves most.

“I just want to tell all of my kids and my Hokies I miss you so much, and I’ll be out there on the front lines when it’s safe to do so. Just like Mama Lisa’s doing, I want you all to do the same thing,” Gardner said, “Don’t be taking chances and don’t be a carrier, or don’t be the one that’s going to pass it on to somebody else.”

Mama Lisa said she can’t wait to be reunited with the students.

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