For Maddy Park, it all started on the train after she had seen the news reports of hate crimes against Asian New Yorkers.
"Last week I took the train. It was a 30-minute commute and I realized every minute of that commute I was terrified. I was scared that any moment in time someone might say a racial slur or attack me. Worst of all I thought that if something were to happen to me, nobody would stand up."
The terrifying spike in Asian hate crimes across the country has shocked the conscious of America and left many of Asian descent feeling vulnerable.
Park could afford to take a taxi, but she knew many could not. So she put up $2,000 of her own money, and with some friends, started @CafeMaddyCab on Instagram.
They offer to pay for cab rides for Asian American senior citizens or Asian women who don't feel safe and can't afford it otherwise.
"I just said look, I have $2,000, if you need a ride, just charge me on Venmo," Park said.
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Park, who felt that no one would stand up for her on the subway, quickly learned that people did stand up for her and her cause. Donations started pouring in.
"People who are donating are people from all across the nation, across all races, ethnicities and they just sent me messages saying, listen, we really want you guys to be safe too and we're donating so that more people can take rides in the city," Park said.
In just two days, she has raised more than $100,000 to pay for cab rides.
"It really opened my eyes to how many people are actually supporting the Asian community in New York City," Park said.
Park's good intentions are running into a few roadblocks: Not all senior citizens know how to use Venmo, the mobile payment app her system runs on.
She hopes more will learn and she is also looking at ways to expand payment options.
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