"I Can Fix Most Anything"--A Chat With Wilbert
"Ya, c'mon then let's take a picture so I can get back to work."
Wilbert strikes his classic shrug-pose in the back alley, then immediately gets back to work on his van. It begins to rain.
"Take all the photos you want, but your camera may not like gettin' wet," Wilbert warns.
We love chats with Wilbert. He's always working on something, his quiet hands moving around an engine or bicycle wheel or some piece of junk he found in the back alley.
"I can fix most anything, but I can't fix that camera if rain ruins it."
We asked what he likes working on most, and, half buried headfirst in the engine, he hollered up, "Cars, all day."
"I fixed cars in Los Angeles back in the day, and you know what? Cars up there the same as cars down here. Rich people cars, poor people cars. They the same."
He climbed out of the engine and made direct eye contact: "People may take off. They're confusing. Life is hard sometimes, easy others. But cars just always made sense. Fixing things makes sense, ya know?"
We said we didn't know.
"Well, that's why I'm here... Bring me something to fix and that's a day made."
Every week, we provide food to seniors and at-risk community members all over City Heights. Wilbert is one of those. We come to serve, but it's not uncommon for us to be served by these beautiful people. To all of you who donate or volunteer to make this work possible: thank you!