Thursday, March 18, 2010

What It's All About

(the man of the hour, Willy)

Today I picked up my friend Willy's bike from being clear coated and cut/polished. I was pretty excited to pick them up because they were going to someone who deserved it and I'd never had the opportunity to do a bike like this. It was a project that really pushed me to my limits and gave a real challenge. On top of that I was able to do something for a friend that he'd only been able to dream of.
Willy has a hell of past. He ran amok in his youth and participated in violent, drug related crimes that landed him in prison. An in an out case, it was easy for the state, and people that knew him, to cast him aside as a waste. But something happened in his last stretch that put things in perspective for him and he realized that he didn't want to die in there.
Putting his life together wasn't easy, both inside and out. Inside, there was a set of rules that he'd lived by that weren't easy to cast aside. Outside, there was the challenge of functioning as a recovering addict in his 50's. The world changes faster for people at that age, and changes even faster when they are kept locked up. It hasn't been easy, but he's managed to do the right thing. He's managed to get straight A's on his way to becoming a drug and alcohol councilor while being active in his community and his family. He inspired me to go to school and to take life as it comes.
He told me once that his one dream was to get his Harley painted because he'd just never had the money. He talked about getting the money together to have me do it and when I realized the kind of strain that would cause him, I decided to pay for the materials out of pocket and do my best to make his dreams reality. In my eyes, I owed him and this was my way of paying him back. He deserved to have the work that was done. Every day I put into that project wasn't work at all, but something more. Seeing that Harley get finished, hearing his reactions on the phone and in his emails made every single minute sanding and airbrushing worth it.
Finishing that bike was one of the greatest feelings I've had. But it paled in comparison to the moment I was able to hand the tins over to him. Seeing a grown man moved, physically, by something I did made me realize that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. It makes all the anxiety of whether or not I can really make a living at this fade away. That moment is what all this is really all about.

The Video of the Post is brought to you by Alxgatorman Enjoy!!

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