(NEXSTAR) — Jeep owners throughout North America — and increasingly, throughout the world — are playing a game right under the rest of our noses. It’s called “ducking,” or “Jeep ducking,” and it’s just as silly as it sounds.
The trend, described as a “global movement” by Jeep’s parent company Stellantis, was started by Jeep enthusiast Allison Parliament on July 4, 2020. It was on that day — “Duck Day,” as she calls it — that she placed a tiny rubber duckie on the hood of a fellow Jeep owner’s vehicle, in an attempt to brighten a stranger’s afternoon amid the dreary early months of the pandemic.
Parliament, who was born in Canada and maintains dual Canadian and American citizenship, had just driven back from Alabama to Ontario to stay with her family during the pandemic. But she was greeted with hostility in the first few weeks back, all because of the Alabama license plates on her car. During one of her first stops in Canada, a motorist at a gas station even assaulted her physically, believing she was defying COVID protocols.
“I wasn’t feeling very safe, and we weren’t leaving the house a whole lot,” Parliament told Nexstar.
On July 4, 2020, she and her cousins had ventured out to a shop in Bancroft, Ontario. On a whim, she purchased a bag of rubber ducks, intending to hide them around their house for fun. But once she was back in the parking lot, she had a better idea.
She wrote, “Have a great day. Hope this makes you smile” on one of the ducks (along with a hashtag reading #DuckDuckJeep) and dropped it on a Jeep she spotted near the store. To her surprise, a “big burly guy” walked up to the car and started laughing. He told her he planned to return the favor to another Jeep owner, and suggested she share the idea on social media.
Parliament took his advice and started a Facebook group the same afternoon. Within days, she had 10,000 members.
“It just went nuts,” Parliament said.
Today, Parliament estimates there are a half-million members of various “Jeep-ducking” Facebook groups, many of whom share photos of the Jeeps they’ve “ducked” (i.e., decorated with rubber duckies) in parking lots across the world.
Parliament, too, has racked up 80,000 miles on her car (and another 7,000 on a Sahara loaned to her by Jeep) attending “ducking” group events in both the U.S. and Canada over the last few years. During that time, she’s “ducked” at least 26,822 other Jeeps, by her own account, and she’s been “ducked” herself 18 times “in the wild.”
At gatherings and events, however, she and the other attendees have fun “ducking” each other’s cars hundreds of times over.
“I save them all,” she said, noting that she has thousands of ducks spread between her office, her grandmother’s house and her car, a Jeep Sahara she refers to as the “Quack Attack.”
Jeep, of course, has taken notice of Parliaments efforts, as has BFGoodrich Tires, the latter of which is even hosting a sweepstakes based on her “Duck Duck Jeep movement.” BFGoodrich has also pledged to donate 10 cents for every contest entry to Parliament’s “Ducking for Teachers” charity, which helps provide much-needed supplies for teachers in struggling school districts.
At the moment, Parliament intends to keep on duckin’ for the foreseeable future. She’ll next be traveling to the Duck Duck Jeep Invasion event in Bremen, Alabama, scheduled for Oct. 14 – 16.
“I’m getting to meet so many of our duckers,” she said. “It’s amazing to see the amount of people we’ve brought in, and brought together.”
(Information from the Nexstar Media Wire)