As soon as the weather turned warm, Mint Hill resident Imogene Mullis charged up her red electric scooter and hit the sidewalks.
Not that the 94-year-old mother of five, grandmother of nine and great-grandmother of 19 was stranded during the chillier months. She's still a licensed driver, and on occasion can be seen driving her red Mustang convertible. But the scooter, which she purchased last August in Jacksonville, Fla., is more to her liking when she's only traveling around downtown Mint Hill.
"I have a little problem with my legs and hips and I can't walk any distance," she said. "This gives me a chance to get out in the sunshine and fresh air and see people that I normally wouldn't see. They all drive by and say, 'Hey, Ms. Mullis.'"
Because she lives near Mint Hill Park on Wilgrove, almost everything she needs is within scooter distance. CVS, Penny's Place restaurant - where she calls ahead and gets curb service - and Philadelphia Presbyterian Church, where she goes most days for the Hot Meals program, are all within a half mile or so.
Never miss a local story.
"I try to go to Hot Meals every day because I really support that program. A lot of people sit at home all day long all by themselves. Hot Meals gives them a chance to get out, sit with a group and have a good time. I just love it," Mullis said.
She doesn't wear a helmet while driving her scooter - top speed is equal to a brisk walk - but she's very careful when crossing the streets.
"I ride the sidewalks, and I wait till there's nothing coming in either direction if I have to cross the street," Mullis said.
The controls are simple: Power is controlled by the right handgrip, and when you take your hand off, it stops. The left handgrip is for reverse. When it runs out of power, Mullis just plugs it in and it's good for four more round trips to Hot Meals.
Mint Hill resident Portia Watson says Mullis is always on the go.
"I've known her all my life and she's an inspiration to me. I don't know if she's ever sat still. She's too busy living every moment to just sit around," Watson said.
Longtime family friend Angie Edwards agrees.
"What's so neat about Nana is when she wants to do something, she doesn't let anything hold her back. It doesn't matter that she's 94, if she wants to do it, she will. She doesn't live her age, she lives what she wants to do."