Brandy Shaefer drives her Pride


RIDING THE PEACEMOBILE Shaefer repaints her car every few months; the message about saving the oceans is most recent. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Name: Brandy Schaefer

Occupation: Youth advisor, Center for Spiritual Living

What kind of car: 1996 Honda Accord

Why this car: Because it’s mine, paid in full. And I love her. My father purchased it for me after an elderly woman totaled my Minivan in a freak accident.
Name of car: The Peacemobile

Uh-huh. So what is the Peacemobile? First it was my 1990 Dodge Caravan. The first messages were “Get involved,” “The world is run by those who show up,” “Support your local revolution,” “Who would Jesus bomb?,” “Spirituality is sexy.” Most of those messages were repeated in the first paint job of this Honda.

Where did this idea come from? My roommates and I were sitting in the living room one day, discussing some idea, and I said we should paint that on the side on my van. We looked at each other, realizing nothing was stopping us. We grabbed the keys, ran up to the hardware store to get some paint.

What kind of paint do you use? I asked the guy in the paint department what kind of paint to use to paint my car. In horror and disgust, he said, “We don’t sell that kind of paint here.” “OK, I said, what would you use to paint a shed?” “Oh, I would use Rust-Oleum, it’s right over there.”

As we headed towards the paint, I heard him yell, “… but you cant use that to paint a car.” But it was already too late. I’ve painted every car since.

What do your friends think when you pull up? Everyone loves the car and now it’s a normal experience with close friends. They are desensitized to the awesomeness!

I’m trying to figure how I would react to being in the car. Passengers freak out on their first ride. They don’t understand why everyone is staring and snapping photos while we drive down the highway. I have to gently remind them that they’re riding in a billboard on wheels.

What do your co-workers think? Everyone in my life is very supportive of the car, though I have had insecure bosses in the past that seemed a little threatened by her presence in their parking lots during business hours.

Where has the Peacemobile been? The Peacemobile proudly debuted publicly at the Pride Parade in 2009, and will definitely be in this year’s parade as well. It drives the streets of town everyday, and particularly loves resting outside the homes of beautiful women.

You’ve got to be kidding me. There’s a fan club for the Peacemobile? Absolutely. You can find it on Facebook under The Official Peacemobile Fan Club. For every person that joins, I personally volunteer one hour of my life in the community.

Do cops pull you over? Well, they pull me over because of my lead foot. I don’t think it has anything to with the paint job.

If you get a new car, what will happen to this one? The new car will quickly transform into the new and improved Peacemobile! This one will be driven to its grave. Trust me.

OK, so really, why do you do this? I have received countless notes of support on my windshield. I talk with such a wide variety of people everywhere. It gives strangers the permission to connect with an idea. I stumbled into a young lesbian and her friend reading my car in a parking lot. She looked at me and said, “Can I give you a hug?” I hugged a complete stranger with avocado and tea in hand. One woman said the car woke her up from a dream. She had forgotten who she was, but the messages reminded her and she was inspired to start volunteering in the community again. It’s moments like those where you look in someone’s eyes and they look alive because of a bad paint job on an old Honda. The experience is completely priceless.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 18, 2010.