Located in Georgia, Purple Ribbon Mobility is a family-owned, nationwide accessible transportation dealership, owned and solely operated by Cesar Rivera. Purple Ribbon Mobility provides families with affordable, low-maintenance conversations in comparison to other high-cost accessible van dealerships. The dealership is proud to help other special needs families find affordable vans they need, as they too, drive an accessible van every day. Cesar Rivera named his business Purple Ribbon Mobility after the awareness ribbon for Rett syndrome, the purple ribbon.
Cesar’s motivation to get involved with the automotive industry stems from an unsatisfactory encounter at a dealership. His family went to a dealership looking to purchase an accessible van, as they are a large family of five. His stepdaughter Grace lives with Rett syndrome. “I wanted a van that was 2-3 years old, which should cost $40,000,” said Cesar. “The man laughed in my face.”
This experience left Cesar upset with how inexperienced the sellers were relating to their work and field knowledge. “They had no idea what they were doing, what they were selling, you could tell they weren’t experienced with children having specialized needs.” The van dealers seemed disingenuous to help the families they market to find affordable vehicle options. After that incident, Cesar was inspired to get involved in the automotive business. “I’m going to do better,” said Cesar.
Cesar was determined to do better for not only his family, but to other families who need vans. His highlight of operating Purple Ribbon Mobility is bringing families joy. “It’s the smile on these kids faces,” says Cesar. “To others, it’s just a van. It’s not just a van—it’s freedom, happiness, joy, and life. It’s the simple things—like being able to drive to the movies or the grocery store — that drastically improve the quality of life for families like ours.” The vans symbolize much more than a means of transportation.
Purple Ribbon Mobility has helped many families in Jett Foundation’s Jett Giving Fund program to receive affordable, safe equipment. “Something I really like about the Jett Foundation is the way that you guys do the Jett Giving Fund program. In my opinion, it’s the best. You actually put the family in charge and responsible for helping get the van,” said Cesar. “And by doing that, you’re able to help more families and empower more families to have the tools to figure out a fundraising plan and learn how to advocate for their needs. That’s huge.”
For the last 5 years, Cesar and his family take part in the Disney Princess Half Marathon—a 13.1-mile course through the Walt Disney World Resort with your favorite Disney princes and princesses cheering on the participants. Cesar’s wife, Ashleigh, decided to participate in the marathon to raise awareness for Rett syndrome. At the time, Grace was frequently visiting the hospital; Ashleigh did not have time to train for the marathon. Despite it all, she was determined to compete in the event. “She literally just went out there and ran it without training,” Cesar says. “I was so scared she was going to injure herself really badly! She made it–she killed it!”
Cesar joined his wife in the next marathon, making the event a yearly tradition. Now when they partake in the marathon, they are sponsoring Girl Power 2 Cure—a non-profit organization that assists families dealing with Rett Syndrome. As a fundraiser to raise money for Girls Power 2 Cure, Cesar created t-shirts marketed towards other fathers in the Rett community.
For individuals or families caring for loved ones within the Rett community and Duchenne community, Cesar makes it a focal point to always be mindful of each other. “Care for the caregiver!” says Cesar. “You can only do the best you can, and don’t get down on yourself. Do everything with as much love and care and ability as you can at that moment, and every day is a new day.”