The Million Dollar Man Robbed Me Of $500 in 1989
In 1989, when I was only a child, professional wrestler Ted Dibiase plucked me out of the crowd and gave me the chance to win $500 cash if I could dribble a basketball fifteen times. So, I dribbled. I dribbled the ball 14 times. I was on the cusp of walking away with more money than a child should have when Ted Dibiase screwed me out of my winnings, and I’m better for it.
Fourteen dribbles. I had 14 dribbles. Just one more, a mere split second, and I would’ve walked away from “The Million Dollar Man’s Basketball Clinic” with $500 dollars in my eight-year-old hand. In that split second, Ted DiBiase, the Million Dollar Man, stuck his foot in the path of what would have been dribble number 15. The ball rolled away. I looked up to see DiBiase and his man-servant, Virgil, laughing at me. Boos filled the arena. “How could he do that to an innocent child?” At the time, I was devastated. But now, thirty years later, I have one thing to say to the Million Dollar Man who robbed me … thank you.
Thank you for giving me a humiliating moment that would change the course of my dead-beat, empty, adolescent life to one dedicated to success, power, and obviously, money.
Car Wash King, Baby!
On that fateful day, in a single act of televised cruelty, Mr. DiBiase taught me what no online business school could ever teach me about making money: ruthlessness. It sounds bad, but in the church of money, it’s a righteous virtue. Sure, everyone has their price, but does everyone have a limit to how far they’ll go to make more money? Well, I sure as hell don’t. You don’t become the owner of a chain of regionally dominant car washes in the southwest United States without kicking the ball out of a few peoples’ hands every now and again.
Last June, I opened up my ninth car wash outside Phoenix, Arizona. I threw a huge celebratory slash promotional event. Free t-shirts, free hot dogs, and three unenthusiastic Phoenix Suns cheerleader hopefuls. Those damn girls weren’t shaking it hard enough. I had to give these “entertainers” some Million Dollar philosophy, that if “they don’t get the job right, they don’t get paid.” The three lazy Susans tried to argue that “fair pay” meant getting paid in actual money instead of exposure and free car washes. I don’t listen to cheerleaders.
The Million Dollar Idea
After the cheerleaders bailed, the customers were slow to trickle in. It was a 110-degree day and I needed to capitalize. That’s when I had my million dollar idea: offer cash to some local troublemaking teens to create a “happy accident.” The teens drove their dad’s Rav-4 straight into the town’s main water valve. This cut off clean, running water to every home and business in a ten-mile area, except my brand new car wash. Business boomed, baby! People lined up around the block for a sip of my water and for a chance to shower in a car wash as a conveyor moved them along through the large rotating scrubbing things. I allowed it, but for a price (hot wax was extra, of course).
If thirty years ago, when the Million Dollar Man robbed me of opportunity and kicked my hopes and dreams away, you told me I would one day become a Million Dollar Man, I would have called you a liar. But now my accountants say if the car wash profits stay consistent over the next several decades, I’ll become a millionaire by May 22nd, 2059. And I owe it all to Ted DiBiase and the utter humiliation he put me through as a child, on national television, during a professional wrestling program, where all the best life lessons are learned.