“Big E” Has a Dream Come True
It’s a rite of passage, getting your first set of wheels. It’s a rite everyone should get to feel at some point or another, and if you were to ask Eric Baker, who is well known in Muskegon as “Big E,” it’s a pretty great feeling.
Never asking for more for Big E than a normal life his parents picked up on hints from time to time about how much Eric wanted to be just like his friends and get his own set of wheels despite the fact he has Downs Syndrome. Big E has amazed everyone with his wonderful happy outlook on life, his amazingly cool approach to meeting new people and once he meets them, well….meeting Big E is a moment no one will forget.
Big E is a huge fan of “The Dukes of Hazzard” so much so, he has the complete dvd set in an album at home, he hopes for a white tux for Christmas so he can look like Boss Hog. His parents noted his love of the 70′s show and got to working making a dream come true for him.
A quick call to Tork’s Toys in Twin Lake got the ball rolling, John Tork took the time to disassemble “The General” so Ade’s Collision could give it that special orange glow and add the decals from Monroe Campers and Trailers, where the signature horn came from as well.
Once complete Big E’s parents wanted the experience to be real, so Eric’s dad took him car shopping at the Betten Auto Group on Henry Street. After kicking a few tires with salesmen Robin Bouchard, who by the way happens to be Eric’s favorite hockey player, called out to the back of the lot and around the corner came “Big E’s General Lee”
Family and friends came out of the dealership into the lot as Eric stood shocked and said “Yup! I Like it”. A couple passes through the lot to practice working the gas and brakes, and Big E had just made the step to driving. There were a few tears from mom as she saw the joy on his face, big smiles all around and the first ride given by Eric was to his pastor Bill Uetricht. Len Stenberg is credited for the original idea saying “Big E changed my life forever and the golf cart is the perfect way to show Eric that the perfect car could be his”
I first go to know “Big E” through No More Sidelines and have since been his friend. It was an amazing invitation from his mom for me to come and help share this story.
Here are a few more photos from the event
First try on the horn
Robin Bouchard delivered the car