It was an exciting weekend for Blacksburg’s very own made-in-the-burg taxi service, Hooptie Ride, as an Elliston man stranded on the rocks at New River’s McCoy Falls was picked up and raced to Montgomery Regional Hospital.
The taxi business’s whimsical, brightly painted vans, instantly recognized by all the town lushes (“Look, Andrea, there’s the Hooptie we passed out in last night!”), was credited with saving the shivering man, Brad Quackenbush, 25, who was suffering from hypothermia. It seems Brad had been drinking and “hangin’ out” on the popular mid-river rock outcrops since, oh…August.
Quackenbush couldn’t recall why he decided to stay so long on the rocks, but with the hill’s foliage drifting away, and the days shorter – and, most importantly, with local passersby refusing to toss him any more life-sustaining beers and chips – Brad knew the time had come to call a taxi from a sympathetic kayaker’s cell phone.
“I was gettin’ kind of lonely out there on the rocks…just me and the occasional kayaker yakking away…and the coal train engineers who tooted their horns,” said the soggy hermit from his hospital bed. “And the girls were pretty scarce. Yeah, like, I haven’t seen a girl in two months,” said Quackenbush, eyeing a wary-eyed nurse.
Although the Hooptie’s Yellow Submarine van was the obvious cartoon choice for the chilly amphibious trip to the rocks, its wheels were in dry dock. So the Hooptie road team launched the Purple People Eater’s pontoons into the rapids.
“I was hoping for the Mystery Mobile,” said Quackenbush. “I’d never been in that one."
*Hooptie's Purple People Eater floating back to shore after securing local hermit:
After boarding her fare, the van’s driver, Dana Lee, raced through Longshop and past Whitethorne, blew past Snuffy’s, careened around the dogleg near Cox’s Driving Range and slowed down only for Kipp’s Elementary. The purple van was a blur of grapeshot as it hit the 460 bypass, finally stopping with a screech outside Carillion’s Emergency room doors.
“I wanted to show those rescue squad vans they aren’t the only kick-ass wheels in town,” said Dana, reading very slowly her pink speeding ticket. “Damn. It just doesn’t pay to be a hometown Hooptie Hero.”