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Dawson Grimsley: ‘I wrecked the van and spilled the paint’

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, Sep. 2, 2012, at 7:23 a.m.
  • Updated Sunday, Sep. 2, 2012, at 7:38 a.m.

Davis-Moore Auto Group owner Dawson Grimsley’s worst job may have been disastrous, but at least it was brief. He had it for only about six hours.

A 17-year-old Grimsley took a job working for Lennie Silliman at Porter Paints.

“I weighed about 90 pounds and (was) skinny as a rail,” Grimsley said.

His first assignment was to stand on a stepstool and stack paint.

“It was cartons of paint that weighed damn near as much as I did.” They were taller, too.

Next, Grimsley was told to deliver a can of paint to a painter. The company van was a 3-speed on the column, meaning it wasn’t a traditional stick shift, and Grimsley had no clue how to drive it. That didn’t stop him, though.

“I went around a turn and hit the back of the van on a bus stop,” he said.

Unbeknownst to him, the paint can that had been sitting on a seat rolled off to an opening near the van’s door.

“When I opened the door, it rolled out – boom! – onto the driveway and busted open,” Grimsley said. “Paint was spewing everywhere.”

Grimsley was distraught.

“I might even have been crying,” he said.

The painter who had been waiting on the can came out to console him.

“I’m going to get fired,” Grimsley said.

The painter put his arm around him.

“Oh, don’t worry about it, kid,” he said. “You’re going to be all right.”

Grimsley decided he wouldn’t be and didn’t even wait to be fired.

“I went back and told Lennie, ‘I wrecked the van and spilled the paint,’ and I was done working for him.”

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