Enjoy aloha in Tacoma aboard the city’s only karaoke cab

After a grueling work week, people tend to find a way to let loose on the weekends or catch up on projects. Some exercise, read a book, or do chores around the house, while others prefer to go to a club or bar. Smart partiers know, though, that getting into their vehicles after a wild night of cocktails is not a viable solution and could end up being downright deadly. When you are faced with this dilemma and don’t want to put a damper on your party, it’s time to call Aloha Cab Company for what may literally turn out to be the ride of your life.

Company owner and operator Daniel Sibbett wants to ensure that you will have a safe ride, but also that your weekend fun will not stop when you and your friends board one of his vehicles. You can say goodbye to one party and hello to another when you call an Aloha Cab, because each car is equipped with a karaoke machine, two microphones, three monitors for scrolling lyrics, and more than 2,500 songs to choose from, allowing you to keep grooving all the way home.

Sibbett and his family moved to the area from Nanakuli, Hawaii in the late 80s and make frequent trips back to their homeland. Sibbett’s love for the Hawaiian culture is very apparent, and he refers to Aloha as his message of affection, love, peace, compassion and mercy. He has taken that message to the streets of Tacoma in his rocking karaoke cab, and while the community has embraced the idea, the success of Sibbett’s prospering and entertaining cab company didn’t happen overnight.

In 2008, after losing his job as yet another casualty of the struggling economy, Sibbett and his family were forced into survival mode. While Sibbett was out of a job, the harsh reality of his family’s situation was quick to set in, and he knew he had to make something happen or else everything he had worked for would be for naught. The pressure of the situation wasn’t always verbally acknowledged in the Sibbett household, but words were not needed, for the feeling of extreme anxiety was in the air.

“Initially, after being let go, I was nervous and scared. I really just didn’t know what to do and was ashamed of myself. After some time, my loving wife Emilee asked me what we were to do,” Sibbett said. “We had the mortgage, car payments and bills were piling up. You get used to that weekly paycheck and the comforts of having a job, but when you lose it, those bills don’t go anywhere.”

While trying to work out his frustrations and anxiety at a gym, he was inspired to do something about his situation. “While I was there, I ran into my friend, a cab driver. He always has crazy stories to share, and it seemed interesting to me, so I thought I would take a shot, just do something temporary until the economy turned around,” Sibbett recollected.

Sibbett knew he couldn’t let his family down, and he had to step up. Even though he had only jumped into the job for temporary income, Sibbett found that he enjoyed what he was doing, and as a people person, he fit the mold well. After working at Yellow Cab for almost three years, though, he found that he wasn’t really thrilled with what he was seeing and hearing within the industry. “I could see the business declining. Even though it is supposed to be a customer service business, I didn’t see a lot of customer service involved in it. There was just a lot of grumbling between the drivers and the company and vice versa. I just felt we needed to take control of the business industry and fix it. I come from a place where you need to gather your resources and get creative sometimes to do what you need to do, and that was what we did,” Sibbett said.

Given that taxi service is essential to Tacoma’s transportation system, the city has reinforced Municipal Code 6B.220, making it clear to taxi drivers that they should act as liaisons to the city. This stance is simply to make a safer, fair, more efficient operation of taxis in the local area.

“As they were rolling out the code for the taxi companies, the city asked us to be liaisons. We listened and took that into consideration when we built our own cab company,” Sibbett said. “We’re all about bringing some Aloha to Tacoma, as you can see in our big red sports utility vehicles with the bright, friendly Aloha Cab Company logo on them, as well as karaoke singing riders.”

Harry Galdeira has been working alongside Sibbett for Aloha Cab Company. “I have been working two months as a driver, and I love it. The nights have been getting increasingly busy, with our name getting out there more. Our fares see other people having fun singing karaoke and want to get in this cab. People really get into the songs! It’s not all about knowing the songs or the lyrics, but just having a party in the cab, and most people just like making fun of each other,” Galdeira said.

For those who like a quieter, calmer, more educational ride and prefer not to indulge in rocking out during their ride, Aloha also offers tours around the city by history buff Richard Mehegan. “During the day, I take people on tours and sightseeing around Tacoma. We like to share with our passengers the various highlights Tacoma has to offer. One of the most popular places we drive to is the Glass Museum, and if people want to fire up the karaoke on the way, we can do that,” Mehegan said.

To learn more about the Aloha Cab Company, visit www.alohacab.com or call (253) 428-9999 for a pickup. Fares are low, and the karaoke is free. Aloha Cabs are also available for special engagements. If you want to see what it’s like to break it down in an Aloha Cab, see their videos on www.youtube.com.

(Be sure and visit www.tacomaweekly.com to see “The Dave & Mike Show” broadcast from the karaoke cab.)

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