As a 25-year resident of Charlotte's Midtown district, Bill Wilson has seen the Uptown area and its accompanying nightlife grow by leaps and bounds. On a nightly basis for the past two years, the Harley-Davidson enthusiast from Raleigh has experienced it firsthand by being a driver for Zingo of Charlotte. (The franchise has been a staple of the nightlife scene in the Queen City — helping restaurant and bar patrons get home safely along with their vehicles since 2008.) This transportation specialist considers himself a two-wheel aficionado who enjoys riding and working on motorcycles, scooters and mopeds, and says that was the appeal that led him to his current position.
Creative Loafing: How did you get involved with Zingo?
Bill Wilson: I had been in the commercial real estate business. Things got slow, and while I was pondering career options, this came up. I thought it was a great idea and that it would make a difference in a positive sense in the community and is something that I can feel good about doing.
What is the experience like — having to handle small motorized bikes, intoxicated people and even their pets in some cases?
Yeah, [the bike] is fun. There's a lot of curiosity [about the bike]. I've had a few people that were probably over-served, but I'd say that's less than 10 percent of our rides. I have taken people home accompanied by their pets. One customer had a three-legged dog.
How hectic is your evening while scouring the Charlotte nightlife scene, and where does it take you?
It gets busier as the week progresses. It culminates between 1:30 and 2:15 a.m. when the bars close on Sunday morning. A big majority of our rides originate in the Uptown, Montford Drive, Selwyn Avenue, Dilworth, Plaza Midwood, South End and NoDa areas. But they end up all over the place.
How is your Charlotte locale expertise after two years?
I've been doing this a while now without a GPS. There's a few addresses that will stump me, but I know where most of the bar and restaurant establishments are and where most of the private residences in the area are, too.