To paraphrase André 3000, what's cooler than being cool? Being Akio Toyoda, Toyota's performance-loving, race car-driving, occasionally hipster-dressing CEO, that's what. And in a thing that actually just happened for real, he sent me a letter telling me I'm the coolest. I'm feeling all the feels!
A little backstory: I have long been a fan of Toyoda's enthusiasm for bringing, well, enthusiasm back to his family's company. My man crush hit critical levels when I learned he dressed up in "khaki pants rolled up above the ankle, a square-ended crimson tie, black wayfarer glasses and a trendy hairdo" when he spoke to students at Japan's Meiji University about getting young people interested in cars.
Toyoda's fervor for fun cars and hipster garb prompted me to create the "Hipster Akio Toyoda" meme to salute his coolness. The man's out there working hard and having fun being CEO of a car company! Good for him, right? We should all be so lucky.
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Much to my surprise — I write tons of pieces on cars every day and rarely hear from manufacturers unless I reach out first — the PR team at Toyota saw the story, let me know they loved it, and promised they would send it to Toyoda himself.
Evidently they did, because on Wednesday I got this in the mail:
To recap: the CEO of the Toyota Motor Corporation thinks I'm the coolest. The coolest, you guys. I'd like to tell you I was too cool to be surprised, but I think I started screaming like
that time me and Travis went to a little girl at a One Direction concert.
After I texted a photo of the letter to my parents with the message "SEE MOM AND DAD I TOLD YOU I HAVE A REAL JOB" and three girls who wouldn't go out with me in high school (their response, across the board: "Who is this again?") I went through the rest of the box Toyoda sent me:
Turns out he liked the story so much he sent me a 1:10 Scion FR-S radio controlled car that he also signed with his little anime character logo. God, that guy's cool. Is he cool or what?
Now, as much as I'd like to keep the tiny Toyobaru and use it to chase my dog around when he needs to be put in his place, I cannot. Your Jalopnik staff isn't allowed to accept gifts from automakers and sources of this magnitude.
However, my loss is about to be your gain. Later this month we will be announcing an exciting contest just in time for the holiday season that you fine readers will want to be a part of. While we're still working out the details on that, this RC Scion FR-S signed by Mr. Toyoda will be one of the prizes.
If you want this in your garage, stay tuned! Until then, I plan on getting Toyoda's letter framed above my desk so I have physical proof of how cool I am. That's more than enough for me. Jesus, it's far too easy to turn SUPER TOUGH AND SERIOUS JOURNALISTS into melting fanbois.
I'm just not used to compliments is all.