Local brewery offering free rides home, in honor of DWI victims

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Nearly two years ago, three young adults were killed when a drunk driver slammed into their car near the Big-I.

Grace Sinfield, 20, and brothers Roberto Mendez, 27, and Sergio Mendez-Aguire, 23, were killed when Jacob Jaramillo hit them.

“At first I was grieving all the time, but instead of grieving, I found a way to honor them more and that’s by starting programs around town,” said Gabriel Aragon, a good friend of the Mendez brothers.

Aragon turned his pain into a passion, which resulted in the “Mendez Uber Program.”

“To make sure people get home safe. To make sure families aren’t affected by drunk drivers,” said Aragon.

Aragon works for ABQ Live The Magazine. ABQ Live partnered with a new local brewery, SandBar Brewery and Grill, to make it possible.

“We wanted to have consumers be able to come to us, enjoy themselves but then be responsible and be able to make it home safely and we didn’t want them to drive,” said Sean Colwell, co-owner of SandBar Brewery and Grill.

The Mendez Uber Program works like this:

  • Any group of three or more people need to Uber to SandBar after 9 p.m.
  • Upon arrival, show your server or bartender your receipt from your Uber there
  • When your group is ready to leave the bar, your server or bartender will enter a promo code on your phone
  • That code will pay for $15 dollars of every Uber home

“When you Uber, $15 gets you pretty darn far since we’re pretty centrally located in the city,” said Colewell.

SandBar is located near San Mateo and Montgomery. Customers there say they love the program

“Oh, it’s awesome. I took advantage of it a couple Whiskey Wednesdays ago and I just think it’s super important,” said Bernardita Sandoval.

“It’s just a great idea in general. The city needs things like this to keep people off the road,” said Jerrod VanLandingham.

Right now, the Mendez Uber is only offered at SandBar, but Aragon hopes it will grow.

“We’re doing the trial here at SandBar and if it does really good we want it to go citywide,” said Aragon.

Aragon hopes the program will make Albuquerque streets safer and create a lasting legacy for his friends.

“Every time (someone says), ‘Hey, let’s do an Uber,’ it’s the Mendez Uber Program. They’re going to be with us at all times,” said Aragon.

Aragon says they are looking for more partnerships to help the program grow.

For more information, email info@thesandbarandgrill.com.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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