Home / News / India /  WATCH: 4 US diplomats drive auto-rickshaws on Delhi's roads

Leaving behind their bullet-proof vehicles, four women diplomats from the United States drove auto-rickshaws on Delhi's roads. Ann L Mason, Ruth Holmberg, Shareen J Kitterman, and Jennifer Bywaters are in the national capital these days, and they said they like to drive their Black and Pink three-wheelers for all their work including the 'official trips'.

These diplomats have taken to the common man's commute not just for fun, but also to set an example.

In a video by the Reuters news agency, these diplomats can be seen riding autorickshaws on the roads of the national capital. One of the autorickshaws was decorated with the flags of two countries-India and the US.

Diplomat Ann L Mason said she first saw an autorickshaw in Pakistan and was impressed by the design of the unique vehicle. As soon as she came to India, she bought one for herself.

"When I was in Pakistan, before coming to India, I was in armoured vehicles and they were big, beautiful vehicles. But I would always look out on the street and I would see the autorickshaws going by and I always wanted to be in the autorickshaw. So when I got to India and had the opportunity to buy one, I took it immediately", Mason told Reuters news agency.

Her personalised black autorickshaw has a Bluetooth device and a curtain printed with the image of a tiger. She has taken special care to personalize her autorickshaw, nicknamed KITT, in homage to the 1980s show "Knight Rider".

Discovering the hustle and bustle of the city, Ruth Holmberg with her 'black beauty', goes to the market and meets people which she called her way of 'diplomacy'. Holmberg said, "I enjoy driving the auto very much and I love it when other women see that I am driving it and I like that they see this possibility for them as well. For me, diplomacy is not all that high level. Diplomacy is people meeting people, people getting to know each other, and getting a chance to build relationships and that's what I can do with the auto. I meet people every day. On my way from my work, going to the market. I know the vendors in my area, and I know people in the market .. they are all excited to see me at the market with the auto. They come and introduce themselves and with that, I can build that one on one relationship and I think that is a very important part of diplomacy", said Ruth Holmberg from inside her black rick

Shareen J Kitterman, born in Karnataka and holding US citizenship also flaunted her pink-coloured autorickshaw with flower magnets. Kitterman said she was inspired by the Mexican Ambassador who too had an auto with a driver. She has also tied colourful tassels to both sides of her auto and stuck flags of the United States and India near the windshield.

"When I was in the US planning to come to New Delhi, I'd heard about the Mexican Ambassador. Ten years ago, she had an auto and she had a driver. That's when I started thinking about it. When I came here, I saw Ann who had an auto, so when I own an auto, I want to drive it. So, that was my whole goal", said Kitterman.

Mexican Ambassador Melba Pria was the one who started the trend when she made a white-coloured rick her official vehicle.

Explaining the experience of her journey, Jennifer Bywaters said that she got to see the good side of the people on the road who helped her and you need to have fun and be brave enough to think out of the box.

"When I got to be in Delhi, I met Ann and after riding in her auto, I decided that I needed this vehicle too. I get to see the local perspective, more of the humanity. Some of the people helped me since I started driving the auto-rickshaw and so I saw the good side of the people in Delhi" said Jennifer.

Accustomed to the riding, she added that the hardest part was navigating around other auto-rickshaws but learning how to drive wasn't difficult.

"Learning wasn't difficult. I am used to driving a clutch so that part was easy and the hardest part of driving in Delhi is navigating around animals, bicycles, and other auto-rickshaws. But I would say that have fun and be brave! " she added.

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