Mexico has always held a special place in Amigo founder Al Thieme’s heart. Having busy lives in Michigan, Thieme and wife, Beth, needed a relaxing getaway with their family. Since 1999, the Thieme family has enjoyed annual vacations at the beautiful Royal Sands in Cancun.
The Royals Sands, Cancun
Al’s first vacation to Mexico was in 1967. This was also the first time he experienced pushing a close family member with multiple sclerosis in a wheelchair. Determined that there must be a better way, Al promised he would build “something” to make her more independent when they returned home to Michigan.
Within a few months, his invention was ready. It was named the Amigo because it was such a "friend" to its users and because the idea had materialized while vacationing in Mexico.
When the Thiemes and their four children headed to Mexico in 1999 to vacation, they noticed guests using wheelchairs because of injuries or the inability to walk long distances in the heat and sun. They relied on family members to push them around all day, just as Al had experienced 32 years earlier. This time, however, he had a solution to offer.
A ramp provides access to palapas at
the Royal Sands
Al and Beth approached Royal Resorts management and showed them the advantages of using an Amigo while traveling. After a successful initial trial, they purchased two Amigos for each resort. Now guests can reserve an Amigo rental prior to their arrival or during their stay.
“Royal Resorts is the first chain of resorts to offer rental Amigos for their guests,” Al Thieme says. “It is great fun to see guests riding independently.”