I was finishing a driveway about three years ago and a 70-year-old man came to watch me finish with his grandson. He needed his driveway done and wanted to stop by a pour to see my work. He stayed for a while talking from his car window because he wasn't able to get around well. I gave him an estimate of $15,000, and he said he wanted me to do it when he saved enough money.
I hadn't heard back so I figured he decided against doing it. A few years went by and the man passed away. His daughter had picked out a suit to have him laid out in, but couldn't find it so she took one out of his closet. The funeral home called and asked if he kept his eye glasses case in his suit coat, and when she said yes, they told her she had to come see something.
She discovered her grandfather had been saving to have me pour his driveway, and there was $3,000 in that eye glasses case. The driveway was still unfinished and his daughter got estimates from $13,000 to $15,000 from competitors. She couldn't afford any bid.
I stopped by to see what kind of shape the driveway was in. I just felt like God was prodding me to look at it again. I was talking to the man's daughter and she told me that he had saved that money because he really liked my work. I went home and I tossed and turned all night. I kept thinking about that man on his death bed saving money for me to pour his driveway, it did something to my soul I can't explain in words.
I couldn't expect my crew to work free, but I couldn't walk away knowing the man died saving for me to do it and I knew I had to find a way. Finally, I told his daughter that I’d do it if she could pay for the material. I did it pro-bono because it was for the old man, and I believed God wanted me to and knew he would give me the strength to finish the job.
I started it with my son and her son. I had to break up the driveway in three sections because it was so large. I tore out the entire back half, left the front half in, and broke up the back in two sections. The tear-out was brutal. I had her order 15 tons of fill for the back. I moved it by wheelbarrow through the mud, then set all the forms.
I had a friend help me finish, and as payment, I gave him the only set of concrete stamps I owned. I screeded the entire driveway by myself and had him bull float behind me. I came back the next day to do the stamping, wheelbarrowed the stamp mix, and screeded by myself. I just dug down to the deepest in me, and worked fourteen days straight for about 12 hours per day.
Once the project was over, I knew I had nailed it. It was my best work yet; I think the man and God both helped me get through it. My work impressed the inspector and the mayor.
My family and friends said I was crazy for doing it pro-bono. They said I had lost my mind giving away my only set of stamps, but none of them knew how touched I was knowing that old man had saved his money for me to finish his driveway. You can never understand how it feels doing a pour for someone who couldn't afford it until you do it.