Super-commuter Kyle Rice on the PATH train. Courtesy of Kyle Rice.

Del. man gets 1.5M views for TikTok of his long commute

Ken MammarellaBusiness, Headlines

Super-commuter Kyle Rice on the PATH train. Courtesy of Kyle Rice.

Super-commuter Kyle Rice on the PATH train. Courtesy of Kyle Rice.

Kyle Rice made a TikTok video just to show his friends and family – particularly his 4-year-old daughter – about the super-commute called for at his new job in a new industry.

He lives near Wilmington Airport and works 125 miles away, a block from the World Trade Center Memorial in Manhattan. And he went from emergency medical services to the tech industry.

Much to his surprise, that three-minute video generated thousands of hits the first day and more than 1.5 million so far. It has also generated a lot of media attention, including a Business Insider article, and interviews with Fox News out of Washington, 6ABC in Philadelphia and two radio stations.

“It’s been overwhelmingly positive,” he told DelawareLive about the reaction, in an interview from his back porch. “Only a few people didn’t believe I do it, didn’t understand I would do it and did not see the value of the commute.”

He’s also reconnected to old friends that he hadn’t spoken to in years who saw the coverage.

“Hey, this is me!” he wrote on Facebook. “Feel free to ask questions or send comments & criticisms! Thank you.”

His first direct response, from Mary O’Malley: “omg. You’re living my dream life!! I love NY!”

Rice, who’s 38, chose to balance his good life in Delaware, where he has lived since the 1990s, to double his salary to six figures to work in (and at lunchtime, enjoy) the city that doesn’t sleep.

He’s used to a demanding work commitment. “For 15 years, I worked as a critical care paramedic,” he told Business Insider. “I spent between 12 and 24 hours at a time in an ambulance providing, direct patient care. I loved this job.”

Last November, he was working as a clinical care paramedic (he has extra training to handle transporting patients between hospitals) and a clinical educator for St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington when he saw the posting for a job as a protocol architect for a startup called Muru. “I met every other criteria they were looking for,” he said, except for proximity to the office.

The application process involved six or seven rounds – “the most intense I have ever been through” – before he was hired. On his first day, he took the train from Wilmington to Manhattan and then immediately hopped on another train to Albany, New York. He didn’t return home to his wife and two children for a week.

Kyle Rice at the Biden train station in Wilmington. Courtesy of Kyle Rice.

Kyle Rice at the Biden train station in Wilmington. Courtesy of Kyle Rice.

His standard commute

His standard commute, he told Business Insider: “I leave my house at 6:15 a.m. and drive eight minutes to the train station in Wilmington to catch the 6:33 a.m. Amtrak train to Newark Penn Station. The ride is around an hour and 37 minutes. After that, I get on the PATH train to the World Trade Center, which takes 30 minutes. I step outside the Oculus at around 8:35 a.m. and walk a block to my office. If there are no delays, I’m often one of the first to arrive in the morning.

“I do the reverse commute at night and am on the couch by 7:30 p.m., which gives me plenty of time to be with my kids, eat dinner, and do some chores before starting it all again the next day.

“I spend $1,400 on an unlimited Amtrak pass every month, which allows me to ride the train twice daily for $35 a ride. I also have an unlimited PATH train card, which costs $110 a month.”

In that video, he also showed an alternate route, taking Amtrak to New York’s Penn Station and then a subway to the World Trade Center.

Muru handles clinical decision support for emergency services, including 80% of the federal Department of Defense, he said. Muru’s scattered client base means that Rice also travels around the country, citing recent and planned trips to Alabama, Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina.

Muru creates “the tools needed to help clinicians save lives,” said Steven Blocker, who founded it in 2017. “My mission is to leverage my expertise in EMS and economics to bridge the gap between technology and healthcare, and to empower clinicians with data-driven insights and decision support.”

“It’s a really fun adventure,” Rice said of his new gig. “My commute has been beneficial, with time to focus on work, schoolwork or sleep.”

He’s working on his bachelor of science in public safety administration at Neumann University. The university is in Aston, Pennsylvania, less than 20 miles from his home, but that proximity really doesn’t matter much, since the degree is online. And immediately after the bachelor’s degree, he plans to start on his master’s.

Rice started his job by commuting five days a week for about months. The in-the-office demand went down to two days a week, and now it’s only two days a month. His commuting costs have therefore dropped.

Surprisingly, he’s not the Muru employee living the furthest from the office. A colleague lives in Buffalo, New York – eight hours a way by mass transit, seven hours away by driving and a relatively short 90-minute flight.

Share this Post