Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings of Greater Ann Arbor & Detroit / Wayne County Michigan

It’s Never Too Late to Start Again

Boober (rhymes with Uber) may not exactly be a rags-to-riches story, but it’s close. Boober Tours founder Kevin Spangler is ferrying people around Ann Arbor in pedicabs, a modern take on the ancient rickshaw taxi. It’s gaining popularity for bar-hopping and romantic rendezvous. There’s even an app, Go Boober, to make things more convenient.

            Spangler was living in a homeless shelter in Ann Arbor and recalls, “I had no driver’s license and no transportation, so I needed a plan to earn income that did not rely on these things. I knew that with my history, my job prospects were limited. For some, entrepreneurship is a goal; for me, it was a necessity.”

            In March 2016, he bought his first pedal-powered pedicab and hit the streets of Ann Arbor picking up and dropping off people for a fee. “There is something about a ride in a pedicab that forces people to have fun and smile. I loved being able to make someone’s day a little brighter. I realized that this was not only a good way to earn a living, it was also a way to make my corner of the world a little happier,” says Spangler.

            Over the next 18 months, the Boober fleet grew to 17 pedicabs, hiring drivers that were in recovery and needed a steady income and a second chance. Spangler notes, “Boober also provides life skill workshops to our employees so they could continue to grow. Today, we are expanding, both in size and scope. We are now offering weddings and corporate event services. as well as pub crawl taxis. We also partner with the business community by providing a mobile advertising platform.”

            Personal drama colors Spangler’s life journey. “Overcoming resentment is my biggest achievement to date,” he explains. “Living in resentment clouded my mind and created more negativity. Back in 2007, I learned about forgiveness, but at that time I said I could never forgive my father. I continued to go in and out of jail because of the resentment. In jail I would forgive, but as time would go by I would unforgive. The last time I went to jail, I organized a goal that I always work on—moving people to forgive. The end goal is that forgiveness is a continual daily practice. I used to view my whole childhood negatively, but now after forgiving, I actually realize most of my childhood was happy and that I was just finding ways to blame other people for my problems.”

            Three books; Awaken The Giant Within, Awaken To Life’s Inner Purpose and Change Your Brain Change Your Life, by Tony Robbins, were a big help to him. “Through the reading of these books, I learned that our foundation is our subconscious brain, which is 95 percent of our brain power, which is programmed to make decisions. I used to believe overcoming addiction was hard, and I always gave up when I hit a roadblock. Now I’ve transformed that word hard to easy.”

            He also discovered Nicherin Buddhism and says, “We chant nam myoho renge kyo, which means ‘devotion to the mystic law through cause and effect and sound and vibration’, which means to me the energy you put in the universe is the energy you get back, and you cannot lie to the universe.”

            Treehouse 603 has been Boober Tours main advertiser and has really helped the service grow. Future plans include expanding the Go Boober app to Austin, Chicago and other markets, eventually turning it into an entertainment social media platform. Spangler shares, “After that, I want to be a motivational speaker teaching people how to forgive, because I believe forgiveness was the most pivotal part of my life.”

 

Natural Awakenings readers enjoy a 33 percent discount off their next Booze Cruise or Family Tour. To book a Boober Cruise or Tour around Ann Arbor, download the Go Boober app for IOS. For more information, call 734-686-2087 or visit BooberTours.com. See Kevin Spangler and one of his rigs on the front cover of this month’s issue.