By Marybel Rodriguez

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Evelyn Perl enjoys her outings and her independence. Before COVID-19, the Davie resident would go out to play Texas Hold ‘Em.

“I don’t go out to the casinos anymore, I don’t play cards now and I loved that,” she said.

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Perl is blessed to have a busy family, but that also means it’s harder for her to rely on them to escort her places.

“My son works, my daughter-in-law works, my daughter works, they have their own responsibilities that they have to do,” she said.

So with the help of a Miami-based business called “Papa,” she gets paired with trustworthy “pals” for her errands and some companionship.

“I go to my doctor appointments, I go to lunch, I do what I want to do. I don’t have to stay inside all the time,” said Perl.

More than just a ride service, many of those who have been paired up, like Perl and her “pal” Dejah Cason, have become good friends.

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“She tells me about her childhood, about how things were growing up,” Cason shared.

Evelyn Perl and her “pal” Dejah Cason, have become good friends. (CBS4)

Andrew Parker started the business in 2017. Covered by many insurance plans, the service has been in more demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is super important because older adults are more isolated, and we are all isolated, and the pandemic has only exacerbated that,” Parker said.

Perl and Cason enjoy their outings and talk about spending more time together, perhaps playing a game of Scrabble.

Many of the Papa “pals” are college-age, like Cason who is studying nursing. She said she finds the work rewarding.

“I like the person to person interaction, I feel like I’m impacting their life more,” she said.

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For more information on the service, check out the Papa website.

Marybel Rodriguez