When I finally officially graduated from college last summer, my parents were overjoyed. It only took six years, and multiple tense conversations about how I could be a semi-professional racing driver if they would have just put that tuition money towards Skip Barber school instead of "wasting" it on a liberal arts education. Yeah, I'm an idiot.
Let me preface all of this by saying that I was never an awesome student. I did enough to scrape by with Bs and Cs but I had a difficult time properly finishing projects and assignments that I didn't care about at all. All I wanted to do was draw cars, so I did that, and not much else. I am so incredibly thankful to my parents and teachers and everyone who put up with me while I was in school. I know I didn't make it easy for any of you.
When it came time to graduate after spending four sun-filled years at Rollins College in Florida, I was two class-credits short of the grad requirement. My parents were upset, but by that time I was so mentally checked out of school, with two automotive related internships lined up for summer 2011, I didn't much care.
Throughout the summer I came up with a cunning plan (heavily encouraged by my parents telling me I couldn't live in their apartment in NYC if I didn't finish my degree) to complete the required credits through various CUNY schools. The planning was easy, implementation was a bitch.
Especially when the summer wound down and it was apparent that there was a potential job at the Classic Car Club, after toiling away all summer unpaid. The refrain in my mind was: Why do I need a degree when I already have a job I love?! But I didn't want to be homeless, so I stayed on top of the applications and everything.
I had to go back and forth so many times between schools getting permissions and waivers and statements of intention; it was a huge hassle. Academic bureaucracy is not ideal, but I'll leave it at that.
Fast forward two years; it's May 2013 and I've just completed my final class at John Jay College which would allow me to officially graduate from Rollins. It felt like such a huge weight off my shoulders to really, finally be done. My mom asked me how I wanted to celebrate and I shrugged it off; simply not having to worry about it anymore was enough for me. I should have known she had something up her sleeve when I didn't hear anything else about it.
August rolls around and it's a typically muggy, hectic Thursday at CCC. Many cars going out, a few deliveries, including one to the Upper East Side at 5pm. I confirmed that I was good to do the evening delivery, and didn't think twice about it. I did a quick check to be sure the car was clean and gassed up before heading out around 4pm (NYC summer afternoon traffic can be brutal). I can't say I didn't enjoy the Bose sound system on the Maserati GranCabrio I was delivering, but other than that I spent the next hour inching my way up the FDR towards 74th street.
Finally outside the address where I'm supposed to deliver the car, I call the member to no avail. He's not answering, and I'm starting to get pissed. A co-worker from CCC texts me to let me know he cancelled at the last minute. Now I am pissed. I wanted to find out when he actually cancelled and why I was only finding out now, sitting outside his apartment. I considered calling the office to give them hell, but thought better of it and made haste back to SoHo. I took off in anger unleashing the full bellow of the Maserati's Modena sourced V8, causing a nearby doorman to holler in approval, "OH! YouuBAAAAAD!!"
I was texting friends at every red-light (I know, I know) asking if anyone wanted to meet up for stiff alcoholic beverages after I dropped the Maserati back at CCC. No love. Not even that one friend I've known since kindergarten who is always down to get drunk, at the drop of a hat. This was even more frustrating.
Finally pulling back into CCC, I'm greeted to the E30 M3 and M2 situated front and center, as if there were an event going on. I remember thinking to myself; Hm...I don't remember an event being scheduled for tonight. But I liked the layout, so I didn't say anything. My co-worker Joana comes at me holding an iPhone and quite obviously filming me (as you'll see below) which was confusing but I went along with it.
The phone Joana was holding had the same carved wooden skin on the back as I had bought my mother for her birthday just a few weeks earlier, which you'll see me asking Joana about in the video just seconds before everyone jumped out and gave me the surprise of a lifetime.
Once I realized that the Maserati delivery was fake and part of the plan all along, I relaxed right quick. The Patron tequila helped too. Big thanks to Zac for helping out and letting this go down. His only request was that everyone wait to surprise me until I had properly parked and turned off the Maserati...which was understandable.
Now that I'm no longer working at CCC, I fully appreciate the value of a college degree. There's no way I would have gotten this new job without. The moral here is stay in school, even if it seems stupid, and especially if a Maserati is involved ;)
Keep up with JBH on Twitter/Instagram @JBH1126