More often than not, when I respond to the question "What do you do?" either by people I just met, or old high school friends, I get met with either a blank stare or an immediate response of "No you don't." Yes, yes I do. I sell cars. But I like to think of myself as doing more than that.

I graduated from Humboldt State University in 2011 with all intentions of doing something big. I just had no idea what that something big was. I chose my major in Human Communication when I transferred to HSU in order to understand how and why people do the things they do. How we communicate our wants, our needs, our ideas and expressions, says something about who we are as a people, as a community, and a society. Understanding communication, to me, is understanding the world.

Me, 2nd to the left, w some of my debate teammates feeling pretty proud of our win

I was working at Fraga's Sweetheart Motors throughout college. Tony and Denise were very flexible with my schedule and encouraged me to take the time I needed in order to focus on my school work. They had already come to the realization that I would move on from my admin position here after graduation. I had applied and was accepted in an AmeriCorps program, but I was still hesitant as to what I wanted to do, as I am sure many 22 year olds are. During my last year in school, and into that summer, I had grown restless in my position at Fraga's and was helping establish a more interactive website. I had helped with a few sales and realized I have a lot of fun working on this side of the business. I had heard many stories from people over time about how they had overcome hardship, dragged themselves out of the hole they were in and here they are, able to buy their own car with their freshly rebuilt credit, or their new job or promotion, or maybe even their very first car! The feeling of handing someone the keys to their new found freedom is unlike any other. So when it was time for me to move on, and take the job at AmeriCorps working for next to nothing doing back breaking work, I realized that I was already doing that something "big" I had been searching for.

We do it for the smiles

Obviously we sell vehicles to people of means. People who don't need that extra bit of help to get financed, who may have financed 10 cars in the past and know exactly what they are doing. Those people are great too, don't get me wrong. But what drives me are the people who I know that I put a smile on their face. People who were walking miles to work, or taking the bus on our awful HumCo. public transportation system, people who are using up their savings fixing up their busted up unreliable cars in hopes they will last just one more year. It is next to impossible to get ahead in life in Humboldt County if you don't have a car of your own. So when I see the tears well up, or am hugged so hard that I feel like my shoulders might break, I can't help but to squeeze back even harder, and pump my fists in the air in jubilation right along with them. I can't speak for everyone else in this industry, but this is why I do what I do.