“Air compressor/ twords liver transplant” reads Pennsylvania-native Gary Rider’s Facebook Marketplace listing. “Older air compressor, working as it should.i need a liver transplant.procedes go twords it,” Gary says in the body. When the silly Facebook group called “a car club where everyone acts like boomers” found the post, members didn’t just poke fun at the boomer like they normally do. They actually helped the man to the tune of over $35,000.
I spoke with Rider, 57, over the phone. He told me that he used to be a welder, but a tragic accident forced him to go on disability. “I got crushed by a Bobcat loader about 12 years ago,” he told me. “The whole right side of my body got messed up. I’ve been on disability since then.”
He described the incident.
“I was welding the conveyer belt system into a pit to allow the sawdust to go up to the press. And the guy drove a bobcat loader with forklift forks on it down into the pit that I was working in, and it crunched the whole right side of my body.”
Rider said he was in the hospital for nine months straight, and was concerned that he’d never walk again. After about two years, he was back on his feet, walking without a wheelchair or walker, and today he can walk with just a cane.
Rider told me that he takes pain medications and attends a pain clinic, but that the meds he takes aren’t good for his liver. Rider claims that, in addition to the pain meds, it was welding fumes that may have caused his current medical condition (some prescriptions are shown below in the image provided by Rider’s daughter Adriana. Images further down provided by Rider himself).
“Dad taught us how to weld when I was about nine years old, ten years old. I’ve been working as a welder since I was probably 12,” he said. “My first job was welding at a junkyard called Dennis’ auto salvage.” He enjoyed the gig. ““How many 12 year-olds were making $5 to $6 an hour when the minimum wage was $1.10?” he asked rhetorically.
All of those years of not particularly safety-conscious welding, Rider suspects, did him no favors. “Magnesium and other stuff in the coating,” he says, “gets into your body...over time, it just does not do good things.”
Now retired on disability, Rider has begun selling his belongings to pay for a liver transplant operation. His Facebook Marketplace listing for his old air compressor is shown at the top of this article.
Rider says he and his family have been doing more than just selling tools. “We’ve been trying to have bake sales and yard sales...to raise money for my liver transplant,” he said, going on to tell me he had raised about $2,000 with the help of his kids, and with the income of various odd jobs he’d been doing, including replacing light switches in people’s homes.
Rider told me over the phone that his daughter had set up a Gofundme roughly two months ago. That Gofundme reads, simply:
We are trying to raise money to help our father pay for a liver transplant. He’s a caring guy who helps everyone he can.
“I had the Gofundme set up for about a little under 2 months and it [got] basically $175 worth of donations,” Rider told me.
As of this writing, the Gofundme sits at $38,900, and it all happened in the span of just a couple of days.
“How?” you’re probably wondering. Well, you can thank a silly Facebook Group called “a car club where everyone acts like boomers.”
Reading the group’s name, you might wonder: “This isn’t serious, is it?” The answer is no. No it is not. This whole group is a giant joke comprised of mostly younger car enthusiasts poking fun at old-timers and the hilariously predictable ways those old-timers navigate the automotive scene.
Among those predictable old-timer-isms are 1. A general lack of computer knowledge, often resulting in poor grammar and spelling in for-sale listings. 2. Antiquated views of car culture, often views that perpetuate gatekeeping of some kind. And 3. Overuse of the caps lock key.
The group’s “About” section pretty much sums it all up:
BILT NOT BOUGHT!!!! You bet ter COME correct and ready to show us yor corvette,,, moopar or noocar!!!
Pontiacs suck lol,,,,,
....no commies thank u f or your sevis
keep posts CARR RELATED!!
I messaged one of the site’s admins, Christopher Glafenhein, who gave me a little more background on the group, saying:
“Everyone essentially role plays as boomers on Facebook: all caps, numerous misspellings, irrelevant selfies attached to posts, always complaining about their wives, being aggressively conservative or Christian, etc.”
A group member named Patrick Thompson, a voice actor and podcast host who was one of the folks who helped spread word of Rider’s struggles, chatted with me over Facebook Messenger video, and described the group as a “crap-posting car group” and “boredom killer.”
By now you should understand that “a car club where everyone acts like boomers” is far from an official, well-organized operation. It’s a bunch of people poking fun at old folks. But that’s what makes what happened after Alexander Keeling and others first posted Rider’s compressor listing (see post above) so amazing. The entire community of people who normally just joke about boomers actually banded together to help one out. And in a big way.
Member Carey describes why this is all so absurd:
“People came together and did something out of the kindness of their hearts for somebody they don’t even know,” Thompson told me in our video chat. “It’s amazing. There’s a lot of good people out there.”
He told me about the comments on the Gofundme page, and about how, in speaking to Rider, Thompson learned that the retiree really had no clue what everyone was talking about. Hilariously, Thompson told me how he had to explain to Rider what “GOBLESS” means (it’s a joke on how old-timers end conversations, and how they over-use the caps key, and how they struggle with spelling on the internet).
Just look at some of these comments on the Gofundme page:
For the record, I think “Cranking a Hog” means to ride a Harley Davidson — the official vehicle of old-timers. It’s also a double entendre, though we don’t need to get into that.
Speaking of cranking hogs, loads of Facebook group members have uploaded videos of themselves firing up their air compressors and cranking motorcycle throttles. All to show their support for Gary Rider, the man who went to sell his compressor for a new liver:
What does Gary Rider think about all of these silly jokes about Boomers? Well, I asked.
“I’m about as redneck as a person can be,” he said. “I live in an old coal patch town. My house is only worth about $15,000. I had planned on selling my house and everything to fund this.”
Rider may no longer have to do so thanks to the silly “crap-posting” Facebook group.
“There’s nothing wrong with some silliness here and there, and I also see that there’s a lot of love there,” Rider told me during our call. “I mean, for somebody that doesn’t even know me. I’ve sold that air compressor probably 400 times.”
“Everybody started buying it, telling me to keep it,” he said, clearly grateful. “People in the group saw it and just...it’s blown my mind completely as to how much the people are helping me,” he continued before concluding our conversation in the most appropriate way possible. He said — and no, I’m not kidding — “Thank you very very much. God bless.”
h/t: William Badnaruk