We originally met at a bar/coffee shop near Cherokee street but thanks to me losing the recording from our meeting, we met again at Starbucks where Drew was appalled to discover that I’d never tasted Egg Nog. (“Never? Ever? Wow! That’s like… occasionally you meet people who have never seen Star Wars and you’re thrown off by that… actually for me, this is a little bit bigger.”)
When Drew was 24 he decided he’d finally had enough of working behind a bar. He approached his dad and asked for help getting a job with Union Pacific Railroad. Considering the 3 previous generations of his family have worked for the railroad, his dad responded with something like, “I was waiting for you to ask.”
Drew’s great-grandad was a special agent for Missouri Pacific. His job was to protect high value loads and the passengers. Drew’s grandad was a civil engineer and his dad worked in land contracts and leasing. When his dad retired at the end of ‘99 he was asked to take a job as the president of the Kansas City Terminal Railway which he accepted.
Drew has now been working for Union Pacific for over 17 years and only has 17 more years before he can retire. In fact, he can tell you, down to the week, when his retirement will be (5 weeks into 2034).
Driving for Uber
Two days ago, Drew thought ‘I should buy a car and Uber drive’. So the day we met he was headed to the dealership. I commended his decisiveness to which he explained, “If you don’t just do it right away you’ll think ‘I should do that one day’ and I’m like that with everything.” Knowing he tends to put things off, he decided not to wait this time. “If I just do it… I would actually do it… and then I can say ‘I did that’!”
When I teased Drew about this being his mid-life crisis (17 years seems like a long way to retirement for someone who’s counting), he told me emphatically, “Oh, this is my mid-life crisis right now. I’m 42, it’s great!” Never having been married, he joked that his will be a little different. “I’ll do the opposite of everybody else… instead of go out and buy a sports car, divorce the wife, and make the kids hate me I’ll get married, have kids, and get the minivan!”
So today was the big day that he was buying a car and he needed to find the money for a down payment. Well that was easy, he’d use the change in his piggy bank. But that wouldn’t be enough, so Drew used the money that decorated his house. “Instead of like buying art, wall art or little knick knacks I’ll just collect money. I’ll just decorate the house with money. Here… you know… come over here and take a look at my money.”
We Could All Use A Little Change
One has to save a lot of change to have enough for a down payment on a car, but Drew accomplished it single-handedly. It only took 5 years of saving. In case you’re wondering, here’s an exact breakdown of Drew’s riches:
796 nickels - $39.80
532 dimes - $53.20 (“Obviously if you’re a fan of math”)
872 quarters - $218
1 half dollar - $.50
103 Sacajawea - $103 (“If you do the math and understand integers and theory and this and that… it’s $103”)
Just A Few More Things You Should Know
He’s an internet star. Well, not really, but he used to make videos of himself while driving to work and post them on facebook. I asked what they were about and he loudly declared, “Nothing! I’d gripe about somebody playing with their cell phone in the car… while I was playing with my cell phone in the car…” Unfortunately you won’t see videos from him anymore because he’s been taking his scooter most places.
He and his dad are Civil War re-enactors. “We dressed up as Confederate soldiers, go out and pretend to shoot at each other. It’s grown men playing soldiers is what it is. If there’s a tree nearby on a hot summer day, that’s when you pretend to get shot. For some reason during the Civil War everybody died in the shade.”
He’s rescued quite a few stray dogs and helped them find homes. This year alone he’s helped two, one of which was very bitey and once it was safely at a shelter, rescuers managed to shave off over 5 pounds of matted fur.
He plays ukelele.
A: “Do I see a Star Wars t-shirt under your plaid?”
D: “You do!” (begins unbuttoning his flannel)
A: “What’s happening there?”
D: “It’s my Darth Vader playing card tshirt!”
This seems like as good of a place as any to wrap up. So, in a nutshell, that’s Drew. Be sure to check out his piggy bank in the photo!