Thursday, 22 Oct 2020

DJ Maddy Barber starts 'trade-up challenge' on Kiss92 to reward truck driver who broke her car side mirror

SINGAPORE – Kiss92 radio DJ Maddy Barber was annoyed when she found her car’s side mirror knocked cleanly off – until she found an apology note.

The note was from a truck driver, Mr Wang Yaowen, who had just started work at his new job. He had sideswiped her car that was parked in Seng Poh Road last Thursday (Oct 1), and had left her a note with his apologies and contact details.

She was moved when she called Mr Wang, who sincerely apologised and seemed like a “decent, stand-up guy”.

“There was so much sincerity, goodness and honesty in his voice. Mr Wang took full responsibility for the accident and gave no excuses. I heard that he was new to Singapore, and I decided to let it go. I just couldn’t make him pay for the repairs,” Ms Barber said.

Rather than asking for compensation, Ms Barber decided to do something for Mr Wang instead.

Inspired by a TikTok challenge, she and her Kiss92 team announced a “trade-up project” on air that very day, welcoming submissions from listeners for items that they would swap for her broken side mirror.

The idea can be traced back to Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald who, at the end of 14 swaps and a year, had traded a red paperclip up for a house in 2006. Each swap saw him getting an item of higher value.

Offers streamed in from listeners for that first trade on Monday, which included a big bottle of Nutella, a used umbrella, grocery vouchers, and even a hug and a kiss.

In the end, Ms Barber traded her broken mirror for a brand-new handmade teak wood desk set worth over $450.

She and her co-hosts plan to continue with this trade-up project over the next weeks, and the item from the final trade will be gifted to Mr Wang.

“If people continue to trade-up, we’ll see where it goes: Maybe it could lead you to something big and unexpected,” she said.

Producers at Kiss92 told The Straits Times they wanted to see if they could convert something like Ms Barber’s broken side mirror into something of significant value.

“This project showed us that honesty pays. Mr Wang was let off the hook because he was apologetic and sincere. Maddy was surprised by BMW with the free repairs and we are learning that Kiss fans are the most generous people in the country,” said Mr Andre Hoeden, presenter and executive producer of Ms Barber’s radio show.

“We all know someone who is suffering in this difficult period and such a feel-good project will surely put a smile on someone’s face or a warm fuzzy feeling in their hearts. We live for moments like these to make others happy,” he added.

In a happy twist of sorts, Ms Barber’s good intentions have also come full circle, as BMW has offered her free repairs after hearing about the project.

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