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A Man, A Van, A Plan

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Yesterday I met the second happiest person* on earth. It's Billy from Affordable Glass. I needed a windshield replacement and that's what he does. Greeted me with a smile shook my hand and thanked me for the business.

Two days earlier, I had told my wife to book the cheapest guy who could the job. Windshield repair is not something that you do very often... and it's not like we'll be crossing paths again. She insisted that Billy was really nice. I went on a mini-rant (the Patriots were losing, so I wasn't in the best of moods), about how it doesn't matter if he's close friends with the Pope. Nonetheless, Billy's prices were competitive and in hindsight, I should have trusted her woman's intuition. Customer service does matter, even if it's only for a 45-minute job.

He said he's been replacing windshields for 20 years and that it is the best job ever. I wonder how many would believe him, but he sold it well. He said that he gets to travel all over the state and meet all these interesting people. I originally thought he was an employee of a big corporation, but I was wrong. He's literally a man with a van. His wife does the scheduling and internet advertising. She comes with him on some calls. I imagine that she can do most of her work with a tablet or cell phone on the road.

We talked about many things. He ask how I found him and I told him that my wife found him on yellowpages.com (I miss San Francisco's use of Yelp.) He told me that they spend thousands each month to appear in such directories. Then he went into something up my alley, advertising on search engines. He said that Google was the most expensive and his competitors would purposely click on his links to deplete his budget (this is commonly known click fraud that I thought Google had figured out). He said that Bing and Yahoo were a much better value for his advertising dollar.

We talked about his son and daughter and their career plans, what my wife does, what I do (I didn't mention the blogging thing). We talked about the Patriots and other teams around the NFL. I feel like I could have brought up complex software algorithms and he'd be able to speak intelligently on it.

At the end of the visit, I thought to myself, "The American Dream isn't home ownership. It's lifestyle ownership." Billy had that figured out long ago.

* Who is the happiest person on earth? My son. Just smiles for days. No one can believe that he is this happy. Yesterday he got four shots for vaccinations and screamed from the pain for about 80 seconds and then resumed his laughter. It's almost like the reaction my dog gets when we go to the dog park, but all the time... lottery-winning level joy.

Posted on October 9, 2013.

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9 Responses to “A Man, A Van, A Plan”

  1. Kosmo says:

    “At the end of the visit, I thought to myself, ‘The American Dream isn’t home ownership. It’s lifestyle ownership.'”


  2. YEs that is great billy found his life’s purpose for passionate work. I cannot believe people would do such horrible things to stay competitive. Just wrong if you ask me.

  3. contrarian says:

    I’d suggest happiness is a byproduct of freedom. Freedom is living your life as you wish to live it. Once you are free and living your own life you are content. Happiness therefore is self-contentedness. Happiness is not a means to any end, It is the end. It is it’s own goal. It is it’s own purpose. Sounds like your man in the van has achieved that end. So the lesson is, if we want to be happy we all need to buy a van.

    • Lazy Man says:


      You have a post about happiness right? I read it once and thought it was great.

      I didn’t see it mention anything about buying a van, but I’m going to run out now and get me one. Vans for the win ;-).

  4. Contrarian says:

    Lazy –

    Yeah, well, I wrote that post before I knew what the hell I was talking about. http://www.contrarianism.net/2011/01/14/the-unhappiness-project/ .

    I’d totally disregard all of the advice given in that article. None of it works and it was all BS. I’m a few years older now and a little wiser, so what I’ve learned since then is a van is the key to happiness. A van will set you free, and freedom is the key to happiness. No van = no freedom. No van = no peace. No van = no happiness.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I look at posts that I’ve written in the past and realize the same thing… I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about ;-).

      It’s amazing how people focus on things that are not van-related. Before Billy got in the windshield business, B.A. Baracus, Murdock, and Face had it all figured out.

      Once again 80’s television is playing chess while we are all playing checkers.

  5. Cathie says:

    Awesome! My husband is like Billy. He is an independent sales rep for several home improvement companies. He gets to meet and visit with several people every day, all day long. He loves it. He had a vision and implemented it. But his van is in the shop, getting a new (used) engine. :-)

  6. […] Man @ Lazy Man and Money writes A Man, A Van, a Plan – At the end of the visit, I thought to myself, “The American Dream isn’t home […]

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