Lin Wilson is paid to dress up in costume and drive a brightly colored car as a volunteer delivery driver
KING COUNTY, Wash. — So who, you might wonder, would be driving a car topped by a giant purple virus in the midst of a pandemic?
Well, here comes your answer in a bright purple cape.
“I am Captain Quidel at your service,” she says. “And this is the Quidel Flu Bug.”
Marketing expert Lin Wilson is behind the mask. She was plucked from the ranks of the unemployed, thanks to her LinkedIn profile
“I always like to say I lost my job because of COVID and then I gained a job because of COVID,” she says.
We meet in Renton at the headquarters of the non-profit organization Birthday Dreams where Wilson’s packing up the Flu Bug with birthday presents and cakes she will be delivering to homeless children.
“Especially in trying times like these, with Covid going on, we really want to make sure the kids are still celebrated,” says Lee Blankenship-Flinn.
Wilson says kids light up every time she pulls up to a shelter.
“They’re just like what is that ?,” says Wilson. “And then I come out with the cake and they have just totally forgotten about the bug. They’re focused on their awesome birthday presents and cake.”
Atlanta based marketing firm Fizz basically pays Wilson to volunteer as a delivery driver around the community.
She generates word of mouth about Quidel testing kits just by being seen.
“I am on the road sometimes all the way up to Snohomish County, all the way down to Pierce County, over to Kitsap County,” Wilson says.
Most of the time Wilson delivers meals.
Today it’s lunches to students on behalf of United Way, which is always looking for volunteers.
“Lin is a very fun volunteer,” says Grace Mackie. “I think a lot of the kids and families really appreciate her energy.”
Wilson doesn’t feel silly dressing up like this.
“It’s really empowering,” she says. “It’s a lot of fun. I get the best reactions. A lot of people are throwing up their phones, ready to take pictures.”
Many superheroes have sidekicks. Captain Quidel has her dog Chloe.
“She just had her 15th birthday in January,” Wilson says, “so she has been around the block.”
Chloe is a constant companion for the many miles Wilson drives getting the word out, in the flu bug.
“With this car we are trying to spread awareness,” says Wilson. “Not the virus.”
You can follow Lin Wilson on Instagram and Facebook at @FluBugSea.