Joseph Cicchetti's weapon against COVID-19 is a Fiat 500.
Cicchetti and his partner, Shirley Limburg, last month started offering free rides to vaccine appointments for anyone in their part of New Jersey. The service, called Joe's Covee Car, uses a 500 that Cicchetti decorated with red spikes to resemble a coronavirus molecule.
Cicchetti, who is retired, said the idea started with his car — and his passion for working on cars.
"I've always had vintage cars my entire life. I have restored probably 20 to 30 vintage cars," he told NJ.com. "When the coronavirus first happened, I thought of making a corona car just to make it ... and the idea kind of sat for a while."
They began offering rides to friends several months ago when vaccines started becoming available before deciding to help as many people as they could.
But Facebook wouldn't let the couple create a page using the phrase "corona car," so they used a funny-sounding nickname for the virus instead.
Cicchetti and Limburg, who is also retired, have both been vaccinated, and they will give anyone a ride to an appointment as long as the drive should take less than an hour.
"For us to drive somebody is a little thing, but for somebody who has no car and is maybe unemployed right now ... for them it's a big thing," Limburg said. "We know there's some people where they're just not going to be able to get to [the appointment]. And maybe they can't afford to Uber."
Although they offer the rides for free, enough people asked to donate that they set up a fundraiser through Facebook to cover gasoline costs. It had raised more than $2,000 as of last week.