Although the Duck Duck Jeep movement is nothing if not lighthearted, it didn’t exactly start that way.
Duck Duck Jeep founder Allison Parliament was traveling (by Jeep) to her native Ontario from Alabama, where she lived. She pulled over for a much-needed fuel stop and almost immediately found herself in the middle of an angry confrontation.
A man at the gas station saw her U.S. vehicle tags and approached, yelling that she needed to return to her country. "[He] told me I was a dirty American spreading COVID and just wanted to hurt people,” Allison explained in an interview with Car Talk.
A little out of it after driving for 13 hours, the native Canadian and dual U.S. citizen couldn’t make it clear to him that he was wrong. When he began shoving her, she bruised herself on her own Jeep’s running boards trying to get away.
Shaken up, she called her partner and remained on the phone until she got to the next fuel stop. The call helped her keep going. Wanting to do something fun for her partner in return, Allison bought a bag of rubber ducks. She planned to prank her partner, hiding them around the house.
When she ran into a tricked-out Jeep in a parking lot, she decided to grab one of the ducks and leave it as a tribute — just a little token to say, hey, “nice Jeep.” But the owner noticed her and came out to investigate.
This time, her encounter with a stranger was much different. He loved the idea of the duck tribute and told her she should put it on Instagram and Facebook. Once she did, along with the hashtag #duckduckJeep, the rest is history. The hashtag went viral in a matter of days.
“I’ve seen a lot of scary things and a lot of good things in my life,” Alison told us at Thunder. “I’ve dealt with a lot of chaos in some ways…. And I didn’t want anybody to feel the way I did after that guy hurt me. So we wanted to make the difference.”