When visitors to Charlotte want to tour the city, they have multiple tour companies to choose from. However, if they wish a tour by “Thelma & Louise,” they can choose Queen City Rides’ star duo, who, interestingly, are from Matthews and Mint Hill.
Dubbed the same names as the lead characters in the popular 1991 movie, Matthews resident Marie Ball (“Louise”), 76, and Mint Hill resident Lee McKenzie (“Thelma”), 74, say they are having the “time of our lives” doing this together. “We’re sisters by choice,” said Marie, “but some days (Lee) chooses not to be sisters,” she adds, laughing.
“We’ve been doing this for four months,” said Marie. “We’re ladies that like to ‘live on the edge,’” she says. That “edge” includes parasailing, swimming with the dolphins and zip lining. In previous years, they served as “Senior Cheerleaders” at the Levine Senior Center in Matthews.
Introduced to the tour owner by a mutual friend, the women decided this year to take on this new challenge. To gather information, they learned their route, notated everything important, and then made the tour their own. Their narrative is rife with jokes, stories and shtick.
Sitting briefly with these women, one notes that they can barely hide their excitement at the newest venture in their lives; and, of course, the quips keep flowing: “We only go off the cliff on the day we aren’t taking people out,” said Marie. “We only go off the cliff on Fridays,” said Lee.
“Kids tell us all the time, ‘When I get to be your age, I want to be just like you,’ “said Marie. “We’re having a wonderful time showing uptown Charlotte to customers.”
How long do they want to continue doing this? “As long as we can,” they both said. “At least to 2020….” (laughter).