That's Aaron Prevost and Rick Bye at last Saturday's Upper Canada Region Porsche Club's annual dinner. We were the keynotes speakers for the event, speaking about Aaron's fabulous ride last May. While Rick and I may be more accustomed to events like this, it was really wonderful to go through this with Aaron. He had a blast. He thought he'd be too nervous to be on stage. I told him to relax, just tell everyone they looked great tonight. Instead, you know what this kid said? He hops up there, leans into the mic and says "Joe?". Joe Lawrence is the president of Porsche Canada.
Joe, who is the front row a few feet away says, "I'm here, Aaron.". Aaron turns his way and says, "I'm just wondering when you're going to start making all the Porsche controls with braille markings." And the kid was worried. The Club gave him that jacket in the photo, and we could barely get him to take it off. A beautiful leather and melton jacket with all the Porsche patches, he was thrilled. He texted me from Ottawa the next day checking if he could wear it in snow and not ruin it. I told him he could. 'Awesome!'
It was Rick, however, who brought everyone to their feet. Asked if he's learned anything from this experience, he simply said, "this kid has changed who I am. I've never before seen so much ability in the word 'disability'". And he meant it. If you know Mr. Bye, you'll know he's a man of few words. I've met him several times over the years, but it wasn't until this story with Aaron that I actually saw the man behind all the stories - and as one of Porsche's best racers, there are stories. Rick himself has had 3 near death crashes, and the worst one wasn't on the racetrack. Given a 3% chance of surviving a horrific crash on a U.S. highway, he fought his way back. He's a quiet guy, but his work with Aaron has been wonderful.
As for Aaron, I got back to our table, and asked where he was. His sister, who'd accompanied him, pointed to the dance floor. A girl had made a beeline for him and hauled him up to dance. Later that night, another pretty little thing had him cornered for ages. He was beaming. Around midnight, as people were heading for homes or hotel rooms, I asked Aaron if he was flagging. He wasn't. We all had rooms in the hotel - the Westin Harbour Castle is fancypants; Aaron and Kristen were suitably impressed - and I thought Aaron might want to crash after such a long day. I'd picked them up in Brantford around 4 in the Panamera; okay so it was me who was tired.
Nope. He wanted to go the hospitality suite. Kristen headed to her room, and I went with Aaron to the after hours room. With a beer in his hand and an attentive audience, he answered questions and chatted (though mostly with a lovely little blonde girl). Kid had fun. It was great.
Thanks so much to the UCR and Porsche for inviting us.