Let me just be absolutely clear and up front here: I love everything about this story. The old man, the wanton, gleeful destruction, that helmet, everything. It’s a simple story, too: Walter Thomas is 90 years old, and he always wanted to back through his garage door. Family and friends helped make his dream happen, and the world is a better place.
“Every time I back out of the garage, I think about backing through the door.”
That’s what Thomas said about why he wanted to do this, and I totally, completely get it. We all have these periodic and often persistent urges to do shit we’re just Not Supposed To Do. But the desire is real, it’s palpable, and few of us are as brave or fortunate as Walter there when it comes to making these things actually happen.
It was thanks to a very supportive family and community who understood the power we have to make dreams happen that this could be achieved safely and without the Woodstock, IL lockup getting an almost-centenarian visitor. A relative allowed use of the garage, which was about to be torn down, anyway, and a local salvage yard donated the Isuzu Rodeo.
Walter’s grandson rode shotgun and maybe provided those motorcycle helmets. Walter provided the will and the considerable driving skill needed to slam through a (slightly rigged to insure safe breakaway) garage door. In that video, it looks like Walter is also restoring an old Bel-Air, so it seems he’s a gearhead as well. Which isn’t really surprising, considering what the man’s dreams are.
And back through it he did. That old man backed the fuck right through that garage door. Seeing his beaming face, through the visor of that helmet — holy shit, that may just be the best thing I’ve see in weeks.
The face of a man in the autumn of his life after having just joyfully backed through a garage door is one of those sights I never quite realized would be so important to me. Now I know.
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