A U.S. Army Ranger who gave up his military dream after he was caught driving drunk, wants to help keep the party going — without anyone having to get behind the wheel.
Cardia Summers, 29, is founder and CEO of Cheers, a New York-based startup that promises to deliver booze to your door within the five boroughs in just an hour.
For $2.99 per order plus the cost of the alcohol, Cheers allows users to select their beverage of choice from a nearby liquor store, and have it brought to them.
The special-operations vet calls the new app “the product of my redemption.”
“For me, it’s preventing someone from doing something as detrimental as I did. I could have lost my life — or, worse, taken a life,” he said.
An Army brat who hoped to follow in the footsteps of his dad, a career military man, Summers stacked up accolades during a decade of service before a fateful decision in 2017 “negated” all that.
He and his buddies were at a house party in Vicenza, Italy, when they ran out of liquor. Summers volunteered to go get more when he was nabbed for driving under the influence.
Though no one was hurt in the incident, Summers’ stellar record — including two deployments to Afghanistan, passing Army Ranger School, Air Assault School, Airborne School, earning his Expert Infantryman Badge, and being named soldier and NCO of the year in 2011 and 2012 for the 4th Psychological Operations Group — was suddenly marred.
Faced with the black mark on his record, Summers ditched his plan to serve until retirement and instead chose an honorable discharge in 2019.
That same year, the Hopkinsville, Ky., native began at Columbia University’s School of General Studies, where he was a rising junior in financial economics.
The first in his family to go to college, he’s put school on hold — along with a full-time equity-capital-markets offer from a veteran-owned investment bank, Drexel Hamilton — to see where Cheers takes him.
Cheers has seven figures in committed capital from private investors, Summers said, and the app has already received its New York State license to transport liquor.
Summers, who hopes to launch the app next month, is also in talks with professional sports teams to have Cheers ferry alcohol to fans in their seats at a game.
The venture “isn’t about getting rich,” he said, adding: “If it was, I wouldn’t have left an Ivy League school and six-figure Wall Street job.”
Instead, it’s about keeping people safe.
“If I can do that while providing life to a party, I think we’re successful.”