Keeping a multi-billion dollar industry afloat
College: The Ivory tower, a place where students come together to enrich their minds, develop school spirit, and sometimes stay out a little too late – wink, wink. Recalling many of her classmates stumbling through Ann Arbor at 8 a.m. wearing the previous night’s clothes, University of Michigan grad Kelly Ann Wargo decided to start the Walk of Shame Shuttle.
For $5, Wargo would pick up students and give them a bottle of water and a ride home. The business became such a success that VH1 decided to turn it into a reality show which premieres tonight. In it, Wargo and her fellow drivers serve as therapists, confidantes, and, yes, drivers.
Sometimes, walk of shamers just need someone to listen, Wargo told Fusion’s Alicia Menendez. “There are two extremes,” she said. “There are people who are really quiet and I have to really coax their night out of them, and then there are the ones that go on and on.”
But Wargo didn’t set out to become a start-up queen – and definitely not a reality TV star. Instead, the whole thing just started out because she was a good friend – and, importantly, one with a car, a luxury in college.
“I’ve always lived in a house with six to ten girls, and I would pick them all up. It got to where it was a daily loop,” she recalled. “It got to the point where I was like, ‘Guys, you cannot keep buying me breakfast. It’s beginning to show.’ Give me $5 instead.”
But then Wargo realized, if she could make $5 off her friends, she could definitely make it off strangers. From there, the official Walk of Shame Shuttle was born.
These days, with courtship rituals dramatically different, let’s say, Wargo said her service helps to lessen the actual shame part of a walk of shame. “Being like, ‘Hey, this happens to everyone, this is a common experience,’” she said, “Definitely makes it a little less embarrassing, knowing you’re out there with walk of shamers.”
Alicia Menendez takes on the big three—sex, money and power—with thoughtful commentary, intimate interviews, and conversations with young voices across the country.