Every year, the Town of Leesburg gives its New Business Award to the new business that respects Leesburg’s past and represents the best of the town’s future. This year’s winner, Cartwheels, a transportation venture started by Asa Rusk, is earning widespread praise from the town and its business leaders.
Burnett & Williams recently chose Rusk for its Ampersand Award in recognition of extraordinary commitment to the community.
Cartwheels serves Leesburg’s Old and Historic District with specially-equipped golf carts that shuttle visitors from perimeter parking lots to the core of downtown. Cartwheels also provides history tours of Leesburg for the elderly, disabled, and anyone else who wants to learn about the town’s underappreciated historic attractions. The enterprise combines Rusk’s commitment to public safety with his affection for the downtown where he spent his childhood.
Rusk got started in the transportation field by giving rides home to people who had been drinking. He charged nothing and was thankful for tips when they came along. Word spread and he kept at it. Before long, he was driving a van and shuttling among Leesburg bars and restaurants taking patrons home, still on a tips-only basis. As time passed, bar and restaurant owners across Loudoun asked to be included and paid a modest stipend for his on-call availability. Judges and probation officers praised his availability and scolded defendants guilty of alcohol-related driving offenses for not using his services. Word spread. Requests for daytime limo and shuttle services came his way. Today, Rusk’s Road Yachts business operates a fleet of 40 vehicles to keep up with the demand for the mainstream work of weddings and wine tours.
“With a successful limousine service, it would be easy for Asa to walk away from the breakeven proposition of taking inebriated would-be drivers home in the wee hours of the morning,” stated Peter Burnett, of Burnett & Williams in downtown Leesburg. “Instead, Cartwheels expands Asa’s service to the safety of his Loudoun neighbors and friends by providing patrons at downtown restaurants and bars a safe alternative to driving.”
Cartwheels will take passengers to parking lots on the perimeter of the downtown, but would-be drivers who appear to be inebriated can expect to find their parked vehicle blocked by a Cartwheels golf cart while waiting for Uber, Lyft, or a sober friend to arrive. Those who know Asa and his drivers have no doubt that the zero-tolerance policy will be carried out with situational awareness, respect, and due regard for the law, thus protecting an untold number of potential victims from avoidable harm.
“Asa’s gift to us is literally where the rubber meets the road,” Burnett said. “He is an outstanding citizen, and a great example of how striving together allows all of us to thrive together.”