MYSTIC — Lots of people Uber to the train station or airport, but for Mystic passengers who ride in Old Blue, it’s a journey of positivity, laughter and human connection that’s spreading across Instagram and around the world.
Easily recognizable, Old Blue is a big, double-cab pickup truck owned by Uber driver Moira Deasy (pronounced “Dacey”) and her husband, Ryan Deasy, of Mystic.
Last Monday, while seated at one of the tables at Mystic Depot Roasters, where she often picks up passengers, Moira Deasy said she started driving for Uber three years ago for the enjoyment of being on the road and the pleasure of conversation.
“It’s a win-win for me because I like driving around and I like talking to people,” she said. “It’s very social, especially in this area, because people are coming from all over the world.”
Deasy, 52, who has traveled extensively, said she enjoys conversing with her passengers, who share experiences that often overlap with her own.
“It’s so wild, the people that you meet. You can find a commonality with everybody. It’s almost like I try to do a six degrees of separation and it’s more like two or three,” she said.
The truck provides a kind of welcoming space, she said, and lots of passengers like to ride in the front seat, which makes a difference.
“I think because people sit in the front seat, they tell me a lot. It’s more personal,” she said. “Everybody has a story and everyday I ask the universe to bring me fun, funny and interesting people.”
Focusing on the positive, Deasy began telling her passengers’ stories on Instagram under the handle MeYouAndOldBlue.
“Everyone is a star in their own life, everyone has a cool story,” she said. “Everybody has done something great. It might seem small to other people, but everybody’s got something really cool to say.”
Michael Gustaldi, of Mystic, said he met Deasy about three years ago when he was commuting back and forth to New York City on a regular basis.
“Lo and behold this big blue truck shows up,” he said. “Moira was such a beacon of light and positivity that every time I need Uber, I call her first.”
Gustaldi said Deasy wrote about him on her Instagram feed, which helped him connect with the Mystic community when he was a newcomer.
“It was the first time I felt a part of the community here, and that’s what she does,” he said. “She’s a very warm person that loves to help and make people feel good about themselves. She is the most selfless person I’ve ever met, just a really down-to-earth, awesome human being.”
Deasy said part of the Old Blue story is Mystic itself. “Everyone’s in a good mood, the people are just happy and it’s so beautiful here,” she said.
But her journey to Mystic took a while, she said. Growing up, her family vacationed in Westport, and she always knew she wanted to live along the coast in Connecticut, but Ryan’s government job tethered the couple to living in the Washington, D.C., area.
Then, in 2011, the couple took their annual trip for their birthdays — which are both in April — to Mystic.
“We came here on vacation for three days and it was pouring rain the entire time we were here,” she said. “It wasn’t the ‘on season’ in Mystic, and we both fell totally in love with it.”
After returning to D.C., Deasy said she kept thinking about Mystic.
“I thought, it’s such a beautiful town, and I started looking at real estate online and it was much more affordable than I expected,” she said. “And three months later we were living here.”
Ryan left his government job and joined UnitedHealth Group in Boston as Director of IT Operations, while Moira, who worked for the Economist running a legislative intelligence team, switched gears and focused on training and travel, and eventually opened her consulting firm, TrainWorldWide.
Owning a really big pickup truck was the result of marrying a southerner, Moira said.
“All southern guys grow up wanting a truck. It’s an homage to southern masculinity,” she laughed. “He’s from Potomac, Maryland, but the minute we moved above the Mason-Dixon line, he started saying ‘y‘all’ and ‘darlin’,’ and I said, you’re basically from Washington, D.C.”
After moving to Mystic, Deasy said her husband dropped the southern colloquialisms but kept the truck.
As her cache of Old Blue passenger stories grew, Deasy also caught the attention of Uber’s staff, who wrote a driver profile about her and asked her to participate in marketing the brand.
“It’s a feel-good story for them, too,” she said. “I have a marketing relationship with them now. I do regional events with them now, like the St. Patrick's Day Parade.”
She also sees herself as an ambassador for Mystic.
“I’ve watched so many people fall in love with Mystic just the way my husband and I did,” she said. “You’re totally the concierge, because you know enough to tell them where to go and where not to go.”
Dustin Yaworksy, of Mystic, who travels for work and hires Deasy to drive him to and from the airport, said her stories convey the power of positivity.
“Whenever we talk to each other, we’ll always have a story about laws of positive attraction, how positive people are attracted to positive people,” he said. “We talk about about how unrelated things can come together through serendipity and have a positive impact, and how that can give you a better outlook on life.”
Deasy said being an Uber driver has given her a special opportunity to connect with her passengers and uplift their lives.
“The bottom line is everyone is just trying to get through the day, and if you can put a little fun and compassion in it, what a wonderful world it would be — one Uber ride at a time,” she said.
For more information, go to Instagram @meyouandoldblue.