In 1999 a young Spanish speaking man was falling off of his bike in front of my house. I was very much disabled while walking so I hobbled out to the curb, looking closely at that bike. I noticed that the front brakes were not attached. I went into my house and got a screw driver and a pair of pliers. I then repaired the brakes and the young man no longer had to crash into the curb to stop. He was very happy and an immediate friend.
Shortly his friends would come by and ask for help in getting their bikes road worthy. A few of my friends heard me speaking of this unusual activity at my house and gave me some old bikes to repair. These bikes I would give the children and young men needing transportation to work.
These neighbors were for the most part Migrant Workers from Guatemala. When I assisted them with their bike problems a trust developed. When a problem or other issue would come up in their lives, they would come to me for help. This produced many new friends for me. The best result of these new friends was that I was able to put my attention onto others and their needs and not on my poor health. This produced tremendous improvements in my health as the elimination of a very stable walking devise. Now I only use a walking cane to stabilize my balance. My overall health saw major improvements.
During this time, I became an advocate for improving the safety of my neighborhood. This brought even more new people into my life. These people were from many walks of life. This brought to me several benefits. Not only did people give me many more bikes, they recognized me for my work assisting the Migrant Workers in the Northwood Area.
Soon my effort was brought to the attention of one of the Assistant State Attorneys in Palm Beach County. Marty Epstein made arrangements for the Drug Farm to present me with bikes that had been repaired by the inmates for presentation of those bikes to kids in my neighborhood.
Someone called Jamie Holmes of WPTV and told him what I was doing. He became interested and called me to do a story. He came on a day that I had planned on delivering a bike to a young man 12 years old. The camera was able to get some real good shots of the child and his other brothers and sisters. After the show aired there were hundreds of phone calls. People called and offered me bicycles all over South East Florida. The calls came from Ft Lauderdale to Vero Beach and out to Okeechobee. To my surprise people called and wanted to send checks to help me with my effort. This program is where Jamie Holmes started calling me “Jack the Bike Man” It stuck and now I am famous all over the place.