There we were stranded after being robbed by a crooked mechanic in Socorro New Mexico. The Story Moto ADV tag truck was blown. The timing chain destroyed... sabotage no less, but that's a tale for another time ( too soon ). We sat in our little campsite wondering what the best course of action would be. It wasn't a state of stranded desperation exactly, just that all the plans were now out the window.
There were no power hookups at the camp where we were and in all the common areas the outlets were locked securely. Any and all charging of our laptops, camera equipment and phones had to be done in public places reached by the motorcycles. There was excellent riding in the area so we figured we would just hang out for a couple days and try to sort out the next most sensible move per our new circumstances. In those days... I hatched a notion.
I began watching across the campground to where the RV's camped. I was waiting for something. I didn't know what, just something. There was no resident camp manager or anything like that and all the RV hookups required keys as well.... just a wild west campground, so to speak, conveniently located a couple miles from the crooked mechanic we had found. When not riding and filming I'd sit at my campsite just watching the RVs. It was then that my notion became an actual idea. Up to that point all the RV campers that were pulling in were outwardly private, if you know what I mean-- extroverted in their introversion ( if thats a word )-- clearly people who did not want to be bothered... all but one.
The man got out of his truck after backing in his RV. Out behind him poured four young boys who popped in the back of the truck like monkeys to get their bikes. For them it was game on. I watched for a couple hours and at length surmised that my notion had been correct. Albeit rushed... somewhat desperate to catch a weather report, I loaded all of our electronics--laptops, cameras, phones, everything into a pelican case plugged into a power strip with one cord hanging out. I made my way across the campground.
Approaching the new guy on the block, I noticed... as I drew closer to his position... that either I was shrinking or this man was growing... or this was just a plain huge dude. I might have even turned back at that point but he had already set his sights on me. I was too close to have any other reason than an intention to address him. I figured it would be infinitely more awkward to turn around and walk away. Me wearing riding pants, motorcycle boots and carrying a big black hard briefcase... I was in many ways obligated to continue with the mission. We locked eyes when I was roughly 20 feet from him. I said...
"Hey there you mind if I ask you a question?"
He looked hard at me for about 5 whole seconds with a smile on his face. Now... here's the thing about that smile: I've been around. I know happy smiles. I know a mischevious smile... and I recognize all the smirks that lay in between. This smile was all of them. It basically said ... 'the only thing that would give me more pleasure than you approaching me in a kind decent way... is you approaching me in any other way-- and in which case I would pick my teeth with the shards of your bones in the space of a second.
He replied merely,
I quickly explained our situation and that in this pelican case I had all of my electronics and I was wondering if... now that his RV is hooked up... I could maybe plug them in for an hour. I assured him that I was willing to pay him. I, with intense intent, remained as calm, kind, and beta as humanly possible... because this dude clearly was not up for anything but a straight shot. When I finished my little dissertation he again just looked at me another long hard five seconds... never flinching, and frankly looking right through me before setting his beer down.
Beer on the bumper, he put his hands up and said...
"Let me get this straight... you are walking over here and handing me a briefcase with thousands of dollars worth of equipment in it and then planning to walk away.... and then come back later and get it. Is that what you're saying?"
It didn't seem like as much of a good idea at that exact point. Hearing him say it... it occurred to me that my plan at it's core was most likely the easiest way to get rid of all my pricey belongings in one fell swoop. He looked at me again long and hard ...
"You And I are definitely not from the same place and time so I just got to ask you why on Earth did you walk over to me of all people and ask that question?"
Keep in mind this dude hasn't taken his lasers off of me for half a second and he was still speaking through that same complicated smile / smirk that is dreadfully uncommon to a country boy raised in the south. I thought to myself... 'you better make this good son.' ... and it hit me... my go-to for good it's just tell the damn truth. I replied...
"Well if you're really asking here's why."
I pointed over to my kids at our camp, and then pointed over to his kids playing about 50 yards away... then said,
"Man I got to be honest with you. I don't always read people too well and I don't always do the smartest things but if there's one thing that I know is that happy kids come from decent people and I've been watching them yak it up for 2 hours like they are in Disney world and I've been watching you watch them laughing the same. AND I've seen that anytime one of them has a problem... something they can't figure out, they come running over to you. You figure it out, rub em' on the head and send em' back into the fray with with a laugh.... AND I also know that bad people don't pretend to be good when nobody's looking."
Again the five second ice laser stare and unflinching grin...
He held out his arm pointing the way to his RV and said these words...
"Well... let's get your shit charged man."
We both laughed out loud and when I walked by he patted me on the back... and said, "My name is Justin." And so began a new friendship.
My suspicions about the grin were confirmed when I said to him as I was leaving...
"So... you're sure nobody will come up and mess with this?"
That initial grin returned and my new buddy said...
"Honestly Billy... I'd love nothing more than for someone to try."
He let out a huge belly laugh and bid me farewell.
I walked off leaving about $5k in equipment and my livelihood with a complete stranger and never thought twice about it.
When we went back to get our electronics some other RVs had shown up that were his friends and their families... and by this time they were all tipping em' back pretty good...living it up. I walked up and Justin hollers...
"Billy come here! Come here! Come here!"
Instantly he busted into the story, to what I soon found out to be all of his childhood best friends, he said...
"Guys look! This is that numb nuts I told you about who walked up here like a crazy man and asked me to keep all of his most precious expensive crap!!!"
They all busted out laughing and started calling me colorful names as they approached... giving us hugs.
While awkward for half a second I was immediately honored because I realized that we had been permitted into a circle of trust that you don't generally get into in the manner that we did. QUICK NOTE... any women who might be reading this.... I think it's important to state that men call each other horrible names for two reasons and two reasons alone.... it's are either they want to hurt you beyond medical repair or that they trust, except, like you and thereby have a duty to bust your chops a little bit. Thankfully in this scenario it was the latter. We all spent the next two days laughing hysterically at me trying to fix my car.
On the last day Justin approached me as I was grinding it out working on the Xterra. His head was down and he had a hilarious look on his half hidden face. I, 3/4 jokingly, said..
"What's so funny asshole?"
"I didn't want to tell you this damn you. I really and truly didn't... but you guys had to go all and be not douchebags and make me and my family like you guys ... so I have to be honest about something...."
Again the icy laser for a few seconds...then...
"I'm a Master mechanic. My HAND tools alone, are worth three times what this tag truck is worth. My brother is calling a tow truck and we are going to bring your truck to my shop in Rio Rancho and get you squared away."
And that's exactly what happened.... with more smoked meats, pistols, dirt bikes, beer, laughter and stories than a person should be able to survive.
When I tried to pay Justin for the work. He just smiled ( not the complicated smile ) and said,
"Nah man. You already paid those thieves for this. They make it hard for people us real mechanics. This one is on brotherhood."
Keep in mind this wasn't a brake pad job. This was a timing chain. Potentially a couple grand worth of work. I forced $200 bucks on the man with the excuse that we wanted to give too. And thats the end of the story.
Except that Story Moto ADV will be in Rio Rancho in less than 48 hours and Justin has a few more dirt bikes and bags of hickory smoke wood for us to look into.
Moral of the story... ahhhh.. theres not one. You get it or ya don't lol.
I'd tag Justin in this somehow but.... lets just say that Justin doesn't exactly blog or have social media for that matter. He's more like the guy that people on social media post about meeting in order to make life look interesting. Justin... ahhh... return to the moral of the story for further info.
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