The best headline I ever wrote*

When i was trying to break into advertising in New York in the early ’90s I had a bunch of random jobs. I did everything from driving a horse and carriage around Central Park to corporate moving. While working in the latter job I worked with a Puerto-Rican guy named Hector. Hector was a recently paroled car thief. His cousin was the crew chief. Hector needed a job to comply with the terms of his parole. I found all this out in a pretty spectacular manner one lunchtime

Hector and I were standing outside a deli on east 23rd Street eating knishes and swigging back Snapple. Suddenly a guy pulled up in front of us in a Mercedes convertible and leapt over the car door, Rock Hudson playboy style, and jogged into the deli. He had left the keys in the ignition with the engine running. Suddenly Hector began to look agitated, looking around nervously. Then suddenly he handed me his lunch and told me he’d back in 15 minutes and started walking towards the idling Merc. Just then though, the idiot owner came bouncing out of the deli, got into his car and drove off.

I asked Hector what he was up to. He told me he’d planned on stealing the car. I was dumbstruck. I asked him how the hell he planned on being back in 15 minutes. He pointed to a parking garage up the street. He said he would simply have parked the car on the top floor and come right back to me. He would then retrieve the Mercedes later that night and sell it to a chop shop.

Always on the look out for a good ad for my portfolio, I asked Hector what he drove (a souped up Corolla, Hector was a racer) and what if any theft protection device he used to prevent someone like him stealing his car.

He replied that he used a Club-like steering wheel lock called the NIGHTSTICK. I asked him why he used that particular one. His reply became the headline for the best ad in my portfolio, for the NIGHTSTICK…


– Hector Cordon, car thief, South Bronx

*OK, i merely transcribed it. It still makes me laugh though.

11 responses to “The best headline I ever wrote*

  1. Ha great. Can’t beat word of mouth Vinny.

  2. Great story! That thief’s plan was pretty good too! Just started reading your blog after finding you on Dave Trott’s comments. Keep it up!

  3. Thanks for the comments guys. Hector was a real pro. He had some great stories.

  4. Great story. The best lines and ideas always come in conversation, you just have to be awake to hear and see them!

  5. I agree Pat. They have real life because they come from real life.

  6. Superb Vinny. I wish I was tuned in as much you when I found myself in a similar situation in my early days here in ye olde London town. I was working as a lacky for a building firm. One day on the way back from lunch a hod carrier I was with darted into a car and took a briefcase. He couldn’t get into it and wanted me to take it back to the car!

  7. ha! that’s funny. if you’re going to be an opportunistic thief at least be able to pull it off, is my new-found mantra.

    glad you liked john. that taught me that others can be unwitting source of ideas. my kids have been a great source of ideas. out of the mouths of babes etc.

  8. That’s great. Random but it reminded me of the K-tel (I think it was k-tel)soul compilations where one guy says:

    “This is a fantastic record. let me borrow it?”
    “Oh no my brother, you got to get your own!”

    I wish i could find it on youtube. Can’t.

  9. regarding K-tel commercial— It’s actually shown on the TV in House Party

  10. eric, thanks for stopping by. not sure exactly what you meant though. i’ve never seen that commercial. Or House Party as far as i know.

  11. oh wait, house party had kid ‘n’ play in it, right? was that spike lee? memory fading

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