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DEFEND YOUR RIDE: Tony At The Soda Gallery

"My parents wouldn't let me have it. Now I don't have to ask permission!"

The Ride
The Driver: Tony
Car in Question: 2007 Orange Vespa Buddy 50 Scooter
Spotted at: The Soda Gallery, 408 North Bishop Avenue, Dallas, TX 75208
Odometer: 2,937
Car's Nickname: Putt-Putt


Q: Hello Tony. Thank you for stopping! Let's start at the beginning. How old are you?

A: Older than dirt! Well, 56.

Q: How long have you had your Vespa?

A: Oh, about three years. It's just fun. It's liberating to ride around town in the Vespa in the free open air. You're not going fast enough to really hurt yourself that badly. I love the gas mileage--about 60 miles a gallon. It only holds one gallon, so it costs only $3 to fill it up and I can go a couple of weeks.

Q: Have you had any fun road trips on it?

A: I try to stay away from the major roads, and freeways, because it doesn't move that fast. But it's great to ride around the neighborhoods and Oak Cliff is beautiful. I like it. I don't get to see the houses when I'm driving my car because I'm driving my car. But on the Vespa, I get to look around. It's great.

Q: Do you have any rules for when people ride with you on your Vespa?

A: Hold on tight!

Q: When you bought it, did you set out to specifically buy a moped?

A: I just wanted a moped to get me around from the house to the shop and back because it's inexpensive and it's fun to ride. I also have that little Honda Del Sol over there. My partner Robert and I share the Vespa and the car.

Q: Do you get a lot of questions when you're riding around?

A: A lot of people always look at me funny and wave. I just beep back at them. Beep beep! And wave back. It's great. It's a good attention getter. When I was teaching high school over here down the street I used to take it to class and all the kids wanted to ride, but it's like no, keep your grimy paws off my Vespa!

Q: So from teaching to owning a soda shop? Why the big change?

A: Well, it's not a change. I retired from the phone company after almost 30 years. I started the business three years before I retired. After I retired I was running the shop and I wanted to teach because I always loved my teachers and I wanted to make a difference, so I started teaching.

Q: Finally, other than the mileage, what's the biggest perk of owning and driving a moped as opposed to a car?

A: It's just fun. I've regressed to my childhood. I always wanted a motorcycle when I was a kid and my parents wouldn't let me have it. Now I don't have to ask permission!

Photos and interview by Isabel Morales

View previous Defend Your Ride features as well as other great stories for people who love cars at

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