Becca Ribley is a rarity

By Lindsay Cameron

This happens everywhere she goes.She drives on the highway and passes another car, whose driver turns to view her vehicle passing and drops his jaw, star-ing as she drives by. She doesn’t know whether to pretend like she doesn’t see him or to smile and wave.She walks out of Wal-Mart and a small cluster of people are taking pictures of her car on their cell phones.

People will say to her:“Where did you get this? If you ever sell this, let me know.” “Do you love Hello Kitty?”“Do you sell Mary Kay?”As much as people are fas-cinated by the pink jeep, how it got to be pink, and how it is that one actually exists, what they really want to know is, who in the world, who would ever drive a pink car?

Some people at Ashland University have tweeted, “Who is the owner of that obnoxious pink jeep?” The owner, you wonder? Her name is Rebecca Ribley. She is a journalism and digital media major, minoring in theatre. She has brown hair. She’s a pretty girl with a joyful smile. But she’s not blonde and disproportionally curvaceous like Barbie. People have a lot of expectations when they see the pink jeep. Becca knows a lot of people have said that she paint-ed the jeep pink in order to get attention. They see the Hello Kitty sticker on the back of the car and think that it’s a Hello Kitty Mobile. These are false assumptions. The pink jeep is pink for one reason only.Ribley loves the color.

“I’m not a car person, but I guess I’m a color person,” she said. Ribley, who had several childhood bedrooms, all of which were pink except for a one-year rebellion of a yellow room, grew up telling people as though it were already a reality, “I will have a pink car.”

No one believed her. At the end of her high school career, she began to seri-ously pursue the idea of getting a pink car. Her dad was ada-mantly against it. When Ribley came to college and joined the Delta Zeta sorority (their col-ors pink and green perhaps subconsciously drawing her in), she met Kendall Johnson, who owned a pink car.

That’s what put Ribley over the edge—the fact that some-one else had done it, the fact that it’s okay to have a pink car. That summer, she convinced her dad to let her paint her 2001 silver jeep pink. Ribley and her mom found a good deal on a paint job for $700, and the car was done in two weeks. When it came out of the shop, Ribley said she didn’t cry, but she was met with the realization of her childhood dream coming true.

Now people will tell her:“I’ve been trying to get my car painted pink for years and people put me down for it. Good for you.” “You’ve always said you were going to do this. This is totally you.”

Ribley has found now, how-ever, that she probably will not have the pink jeep forever, because she knows sometimes it creates a perception about her that isn’t true. Ribley once drove her pink jeep, not thinking to take any other vehicle but her own, to a photo shoot for Vitamix through a talent agency.

When she walked in, the first thing people said to her was, “Oh, you drive the pink jeep.” Because Ribley is goal-ori-ented and has many aspira-tions, she wants people to take her seriously. She loves to have fun and roll down the windows and sing to Taylor Swift in her pink car, but it does not mean that she is not a serious person. She never realized that people would judge her character by the color of her car paint. She has decided that for future interviews and business opportunities, she will take her mom or dad’s car, instead.

“Now as my priorities are changing, my car color might have to, as well,” Ribley said. It’s amazing what having a pink jeep can do for a person. While some may judge her as immature or deem her a person who isn’t very serious, she said that, because of her car, she has met so many people that she never would have met, had it not been for the paint job. Many times she has stood in a parking lot talking for 15 to 20 minutes to strangers who think her car is cool. She said mostly they are 16-year-olds or mothers of 16-year-olds, but the car has still made her these connections.

Melinda Roepke is one such connection. One day when Ribley was paying a visit to a friend, Roepke spotted the car and instantly thought how awe-some it would be to have the car appear in the video that her students from Ashland County West Holmes Career Tech Center were making for the Pink Glove Dance video competition in celebration of cancer survivors. The note started out some-thing like “Dear Pink Jeep Girl,” and proceeded to say, “I would like to make your pink car famous.” Ribley drove her car in the video and contributed. It meant a lot to Roepke who believed that Ribley acted as a role model for her students, even for just a brief time.

“By the fact that she said ‘yes.’ Being willing to contrib-ute to something. She didn’t get to know them and we didn’t get to know her, but just by showing that she took time out of her schedule,” Roepke said, especially since Ribley is a busy college student and didn’t have to help them at all.It helps that Ribley is a nice person. Like a quiz she took, on “What does your favorite color say about you?” once told her that she is optimistic, cheer-ful, and has a good attitude, the pink jeep has a good image—both inside and out.

That’s probably why ever since Ribley left, Roepke has heard all the girls fawn over the idea of a pink car, saying that’s what they want for graduation presents.

“There’s girls here who think it’s the only car on the planet,” Roepke said.From the short amount of time that Roepke worked with Ribley, she could tell that she was nice, polite, worked well with the students, and was gen-uinely excited to be a part of the project. The only reason she knows this about Ribley is because of the pink jeep.

“And it was just about the car, because that was the only way I knew her,” Roepke said.

It is the only way people know her. When people gawk at her jeep, when they take pictures in the parking lots, when they talk to her about her car, when they want to find out who drives the car, the question on their minds is not necessarily, “Who is Becca Ribley?” instead, they want to know:Who is Pink Jeep Girl?She is a girl who followed her dreams, no matter what other people’s opinions of her were for having the dream. She is a girl who has finally done what she has always wanted to do, because she always said she would do it. She made her childhood dream come true.The pink jeep is an accom-plishment—not a possession.