Friday, July 13, 2012

Rick Rescues the Damsel in Distress

Rick Cooper rescued me.  And he plans to keep on rescuing folks for quite some time.  Maybe until he's 125 years old.
At an age when many are kicking back, Rick has returned to a childhood hobby  --  playing with locks.
Rick Cooper--forward to the past

We’re not talking hair.
It was about 10.30 p.m. on a dark and fortunately not stormy night when Rick Cooper showed up in my life. I was alone and upset, standing outside a rural New Hampshire condo, my key spinning around uselessly in the lock.  Where would I go? Where would I sleep? What about all the ice cream in my car?
Rick, of Gate Keeper Lock Safe, pulled up,  a headlamp attached to his forehead and an arsenal of break-in devices in his truck. When no amount of jiggling would work, this white-haired gentleman took out his toughest drill bits and blasted away.
The next day,  back with new locks, he told me about his life transition.
For many years, he had worked as manager of recycling for Walpole, N.H., where he pioneered markets for small towns that had until then been dumping.
Then, at 65 1/2, he came up for retirement. “I knew that I could not go home and just do home  projects.  I had lots of them -- still have lots of them—but 18 months to two years later, I knew I would get footloose and fancy free,”  grabbing “the first thing that came down the road and get into a mess of trouble.”
So he wanted a plan. Hearing about a one-man locksmith shop for sale, he realized, "This was something I always wanted to do. Even as a kid.”
Three years later, he’s grown the business to five, including himself and two other locksmiths on the road.
"Let me tell you my philosophy," he said.  "I’m middle aged. I believe that I will live to about 125. The reason I believe that? When I was young, 65 or 70 was genuinely old and 100 was so old it was hardly heard about,” he explained. “Today, 100 is nothing!
“There’s no reason in the world why we can’t at least shoot for 125.
Rick's wife retired from teaching last week. The job had become a lot less fun. Rick's  not sure what she will do for all those many years that he is convinced are awaiting them. 

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