The idea of a taxi service exclusively for children came to Victoria Yeung while she was visiting a friend in Colorado and ended up ferrying the woman's children to and from soccer games.
"It wasn't much of a vacation," said Yeung, a Westminster resident. "And it occurred to me that there was a need there. So many parents work these days, it seemed to me that they would be willing to pay to get their kids where they need to go."
That simple concept is the driving force behind the debut this week of Wee Wheels, Yeung's door-to-door transportation service for infants, toddlers and adolescents. For $1.20 a mile, Yeung will deliver youngsters to the beach, recreation centers, theaters or wherever their summer activities take them.
"I've already had an outpouring of interest, all these calls from parents who are saying this is the answer to their prayers because they don't want their kids to miss out on things, but they also have work."
Although the upbeat response--more than 40 calls the first week--makes it possible that a small fleet is in the future, Yeung said that for now, Wee Wheels is restricted to one minivan. The van has a few hand-held video games, baby and toddler seats and a cellular phone to keep in touch with parents.
For Garden Grove resident Paige Propst, who has contracted for a month's worth of Wee Wheels transportation for her daughter, the new service is a way to keep her job from impeding her child's volunteer work at a local library.
"It's perfect, just perfect," Propst said. "I work in Newport Beach and it's hard for me to make sure my daughter can get to where she wants to go. I think this will really set a precedent. I think it's a great idea."
Despite the simplicity of the idea, Yeung said her service may be one of a kind in California.
"When I went to get the various licenses, I got sent all over the place because they weren't sure where I belonged," Yeung said. "They told me I'm the only person transporting just kids."
To Dr. Quida Draine, an Irvine resident with a practice in Long Beach, the existence of a reliable, safe ride program for youngsters is long overdue.
"It's in an area where people have money, and there certainly is a need," said Draine, who plans to use the service to get her daughter, Jasmine, to a music program. "My daughter really likes it, and it makes my life easier."