I worked in a North Carolina bike shop part-time just before graduating from college. During my time there, a Titanium race frame caught my attention and the owner of the shop let me make monthly payments on it. It stayed on the wall on-display as ‘sold', but I could take it once I made the last payment.
For graduation my Dad gave me an amazing gift - he paid the balance. For months he heard me talk about this “bike” and how “one day” I would have a Ti race frame. The Fam drove down for the graduation ceremony. My Dad and I went to the shop together to see my bike.
Today was THE day - PAID in-full. We walked in and the owner Dale (and everyone in the shop for that matter) was stoked. Finally, this dude would stop coming in to visit - daily.
Dale took the frame off the wall and handed it to me. I have never smiled so big… Dad was smiling too; but it was a different type of smile and for the wrong reasons. He had this astonished look, then voiced: “That’s IT!? Where the hell is the rest of it?! You can't even ride it!” He thought that all this money was going towards a “complete” bike. I couldn’t help but smile as he held the frame in hand looking at me as if to say: WTF - this is the college education I paid for??
I hugged him and explained it the best I could. It was a great day and we left happy.
This was my first 'high end' custom-built bike of my career - it was the beginning. Thank you, Dad.